Year 2000 shortlist called into question

The Millennium Commission has refuted accusations that it may have to rethink its shortlist of four sites for the year 2000 festival.

The four sites shortlisted by the Commission last week were Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre, Pride Park in Derby,

London’s Greenwich Peninsula and Bromley-by-Bow in Stratford, East London (DW 21 July).

Since then, there have been claims that some sites may not be up to scratch. British Gas, owner of the Stratford site, plans to support the Greenwich bid, according to The Daily Telegraph. Derby may have problems in defining its status as a host to the event, and doubts have also been expressed about Greenwich.

But the commission says it will stand by the shortlist, according to a spokesman. “The final decision will be made in the autumn, and it’ll be one of those four,” he says, confirming that the bids not shortlisted are now out of the picture.

– The Arts Council has just awarded a total of 41 Lottery-funded grants. The English National Opera received 1.38m.

“We’re deciding where our headquarters will be. We might choose the London Coliseum or a new building,” says an ENO spokesman. Designers will be chosen in March.

Other beneficiaries included the Friends of St Mary in the Castle in Hastings, which received 1.36m. “Design will become a priority soon; the first project will be a gallery,” says the trust’s chairman Roger Sweetman.

And the controversial Royal Opera House redevelopment in London’s Covent Garden received 55m, amid numerous criticisms of elitism.

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