Imagination scales down plans

Imagination is under pressure to scale down plans for the Millennium Exhibition in Greenwich after proposed budget cuts of nearly 130m.

The consultancy is reviewing the implications that cuts further up the “food chain” of the project’s architectural and building companies may have on its work, as well as where it can reduce the costs of its own plans.

Millennium Central, the company set up to run the Greenwich event, has scaled down plans after the original 700m budget proposition was criticised as too expensive. The proposed cost of the scheme is now 583m.

Certain elements from the original plan, including a pier, covered walkways, and a number of secondary pavilions and operations buildings, have been scrapped. Around 90m has been cut from construction costs, and a further 40m from operational costs.

“In the original plans there were various options, depending on how much money would be available,” says a spokesman for Millennium Central. A motion, which will need support from opposition MPs, will be put before Parliament to make the organisation a non-departmental Government body headed by Jenny Page, chief executive of the Millennium Commission.

A meeting between Page and shadow heritage secretary Jack Cunningham, to seek Labour’s support of the new plans, was scheduled for yesterday.

A spokeswoman for Imagination says: “We are … looking to see where costs can come down.” Cost-cutting is likely on internal fittings of exhibition spaces, but plans for the Millennium Dome and its contents are unchanged.

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