Dome slips away from Bourne’s grasp

Legacy was meant to have reached an agreement with the government by Tuesday this week, effectively handing the millionaire property developer the rights to develop a high-tech office park at the Dome.

The Pounds 125m package would have created 14,000 jobs in three years by building a silicon valley-style e-business park to be known as Knowledge City .

However, Dome minister Lord Falconer said Legacy had failed to meet various conditions, including the resolution of a number of contractual issues and had ‘run out of time’.

Commenting on the announcement, Robert Bourne, said: ‘We are both surprised and disappointed by the government’s announcement.’

Bourne added he would now have to meet with his management team to decide whether Legacy should continue its participation in the bidding process.

The process to choose a company to redevelop the Dome has been marred by controversy. In September, the first preferred bidder, Japanese Bank Nomura, pulled out a Pounds 105m plan to build an entertainment park.

The government’s decision now leaves the door open for other interested parties including a consortium being put together by Pierre-Yves Gerbeau, former chief executive of the now-defunct Millennium project.

Gerbeau led the cry for the bidding process to be reopened.

‘We are the only ones who have a vision for the Dome as a public venue, we want to keep it as a public venue and that’s why we are favoured by the British public,’ Gerbeau told BBC Online.

No date has been set for a decision on who will manage the Dome’s future. In a letter deputy prime minister John Prescott told the House of Commons that the government would ‘openly test the market’, and added that there had been ‘considerable expressions of interest’ from other parties.


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