Monday, December 18, 2000

Opportunity lost at Greenwich

Tony Blair is to visit the Millennium Dome at Greenwich before it closes at the end of the year - continuing a fine British tradition of celebrating abject failure. He is to be accompanied by businessman and former Tory minister, Michael Heseltine, who played an early part in the project which lost £800m.

The timing of the trip is too late to have any impact on the visitor numbers - 6m for the year (5m paying) against a forecast of 12m.
Staff at the site are left with the feeling that the US Cavalry are arriving long after the massacre. The moral - beware of governments running visitor attractions because they have got their hand in your pocket.

Meanwhile the Cutty Sark, the historic 130 year-old tea clipper, lies deteriorating at Greenwich Pier, after it failed to secure a £4.2m Lottery-funded grant for restoration. The area attracts 3 million visitors each year. The project was crowded out by the huge amounts of Lottery money poured down the drain at the Dome.

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