Plans for a £5bn redevelopment of land surrounding the Millennium Dome are due to be given the green light by the London Borough of Greenwich as early as this week, in a big move towards the regeneration of East London.

An announcement is expected in the next 48 hours, as council officials completed planning consent for the proposals last night.

Redevelopment plans include 3659,730 sq ft of commercial space, 355,209 sq ft of shops, 10,000 homes, a school, a hotel, and an entertainment and sports arena inside the Dome.

The property development consortium behind the plans, Meridian Delta, believes that the proposals will result in a new community of 20,000 residents and 24,000 workers, in addition to 26,000 visitors during large events at the Dome.

The consortium comprises Australian contractor Lend Lease, UK property company Quintain, and Anschutz Entertainment Group.

After planning permission has been formally granted, it is expected that the Government will take a further three months to sign off the deal and hand over the Dome and its surrounding land to the consortium, whilst a judicial review is carried out.

However, even after the deal has been signed, the Government will pay an estimated £250,000 a month maintenance bill for the Dome for 12 months, followed by an additional two years at a reduced level.

Despite the escalating cost of the Dome, the Government claims that it will be able to recoup approximately £550m from a mixture of land sales and a profit-share deal with the developers.

Once the Dome is formally handed over, the property developers are expected to put the construction contract to build the new Dome arena out to tender. It could take up to nine months to appoint contractors.

Construction is expected to begin later this year or early 2005, with a projected opening date of late 2006 or early 2007.

Source: The Times / Freeman News

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