Millennium projects hit budget problems

Design groups developing the Millennium Dome’s interiors are still concerned over budget, sponsorship and communications issues as the first anniversary of work on-site approaches.

Developer New Millennium Experience Company took control of the site in late June 1997. Sponsors have been announced, supplying 87m of the 150m needed for Greenwich. Two further sponsors, as yet unnamed, have now agreed to support it, says an NMEC spokesman.

But there is “a lot of bartering going on”, says a director from one of the design groups on the project. There is also confusion among designers over how much each sponsorship deal is worth. “Sponsors are being encouraged towards a national programme as well as the Dome. In some cases, they are supporting the national projects in kind, leaving different amounts for the Dome projects,” says another designer.

When pitching for Dome jobs, designers were told to work to budgets of 5m per interior zone. “We are trying to push those as far as we can,” concedes one insider.

“They are definitely over-budget,” says a third designer close to the project. She says interiors presented by the NMEC in February were not based on the budgets being sought from potential sponsors, and that designers were encouraged to “go for it” to attract corporate backing.

A spokesman for NMEC denies the designs were built up. “That was work in progress,” he says of the designs presented. “Until recently, we were looking for drawing board stuff. We are getting to the point now where we have to make decisions,” he says.

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