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Dome developer lobbies for new Thames crossing

THE NEW owner of the Millennium Dome is already lobbying strongly for a new Thames river crossing at the site secured from the government last week.

Meridian Delta denied that a crossing would be a sweetener to the deal under which it secured the Dome and its 60ha site from the government.

But it said it was fivery hopefulfl that proposals to press ahead with a Thames crossing to Greenwich would be announced by Transport for London (TfL) in the next few months.

The developer, a consortium of Anshutz Entertainment Group, Lend Lease and Quintain is believed to be lobbying the government on the basis that it can increase profitability if the crossing is built.

Under the Dome deal, Meridian pays nothing up front for the site, but is expected to pay the government £550M in shared profits over 25 years. It plans to redevelop the site as a leisure and housing development and will convert the Dome into a 20,000 seat arena.

TfL is believed to favour a tunnel at Greenwich, but has included two new river crossings in its transport strategy. It is still deciding whether to prioritise a river crossing at Greenwich or another, further east, at Thamesmead.

The Greenwich crossing is up for discussion in a TfL board meeting next week.

'We will take the new development at Greenwich into account because of the potential for private investment and that the government might assist,' said a TfL spokesman. Feasibility studies into the new crossings are still at an early stage, he added.

Transport lobby sources hint that the government could help the case for a Greenwich crossing by allowing cash from the Dartford crossing tolls to be used on the project. The privately run crossing reverts to public sector control next year and generates £50M a year in revenue (NCE 18 April).

INFOPLUS www. transportforlondon. gov. uk

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