HC Deb 18 December 2001 vol 377 cc220-1W
Ian Stewart

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what progress has been made in relation to the future use of the Millennium Dome. [24724]

Mr. Byers

Meridian Delta Ltd. have today been appointed exclusive partners with English Partnerships for the regeneration of the Greenwich peninsula and to take over ownership of the Millennium Dome, through a 999 year lease.

Once legally concluded the deal will provide a 20,000 seat arena inside the Dome, surrounded by an urban entertainment complex. The total investment in and around the Dome will be £200 million. The deal also provides for the regeneration of the Greenwich peninsula through a joint venture between EP and MDL which, over its 20 year lifetime, will provide a total investment of around £4 billion, at least 5,000 new homes and an estimated 20,000 full-time jobs.

Meridian Delta Ltd. is a consortium that includes Lend Lease (developers of the Sydney Olympic Village and the Bluewater shopping centre), Quintain Estates and Development and Anschutz Entertainment Group— the second largest entertainment company in the world.

English Partnerships expects to conclude a legally binding contract with MDL by the end of May 2002, but it is intended that it will provide both a guaranteed minimum price for the land that English Partnership is putting into the joint venture and a substantial share of the overall remaining profits of the joint venture.

The precise amount to be received by EP over the lifetime of the deal depends on the final details of the deal and the amount of development ultimately undertaken. However, it will amount to several hundred million pounds and is structured in such a way that it is likely to generate better value for the public sector than could have been achieved through either of the deals with Nomura or Legacy. The deal also provides for MDL to take on all of the risks associated with operating and maintaining the Dome. The public sector's only remaining interest will be to receive a share of profits once they exceed a threshold, still to be determined.

We welcome the fact that the National Audit Office is scrutinising the sale process and will report to Parliament. We have kept the NAO informed throughout and will continue to do so.