According to an article in Regeneration and Renewal magazine (30 July 2004 – subscription required) by Nigel Smith, Chair of the RICS regeneration panel, the cost of the Millennium Dome worked out at £750m – about £12.50 per head. That figure may now be even higher, since of course it is costing several million a year in security and maintenance for the damn thing.
I’ve no idea how much of the original cost was for restoration of the land on which it stands and how much for construction - and to be honest I don’t care. The idea of celebrating the Millennium by spending £750m on a riverside tent seems bizarre with hindsight – in fact it was bizarre with any kind of sight. I have no idea what possessed the Tories, who conceived of it or Labour, who had the chance to give it a decent burial but didn’t. I agree with Nigel Smith that the best after use is as a development site – although quite what that would cost us I don’t know.
What I do know is that I would like my £12.50 back – preferably direct from the pockets of the politicians who dreamed it up. Unlike many on the web, I don’t have any particular antipathy to government – even ‘big’ government, so long as it is appropriate. The Dome however was monstrously and unfortunately for us – expensively - inappropriate.