Archive sources reveal proposed plan to move Millennium Dome to Swindon

By Jessica Durston - 30 December 2022

CommunityAttractions

Recently released files have revealed that the Government received a proposal to move what was originally the Millennium Dome, to the Wroughton airfield in Swindon.

The Guardian has recently reported that papers from the National Archives have been released, showing plans proposing the moving of the Millennium Dome to Wroughton, Swindon. 

Tony Blair's Labour government at the time (2001), reportedly received a proposition bid to relocate the London landmark before it underwent rebranding as the O2 arena. 

The bid came from Lindsay Sharp, the Science Museum's director. Lindsay suggested the £800m dome should be moved to Wiltshire, and specifically, to Swindon.

The museum director's bid for the dome to be moved to the military airfield at Wroughton was sent to the Prime Minister in letter format. Lindsay suggested it could be repurposed as a museum, and the following quote can be found in the Guardian article:

"I am writing to you about a completely different and exciting possibility for the Dome. 

“This proposal presents a unique range of features at a time when such characteristics may, together, provide a unique solution to the challenges of the Dome.”

Lindsay suggested the dome could be “a major new public facility devoted to interactivity and immersively exhibiting the latest in practical aspects and research into sustainability” whilst also freeing the original Greenwich site for redevelopment.

The Guardian found that Sharp had admitted in his letter that he did not know whether the plan – involving the relocation of a structure 365 metres (1,200ft) in diameter and 52 metres (170ft) high – was actually feasible.

He was said to have added: “This is a ‘big concept’ approach and would need a rapid and detailed evaluation."

After sending this letter, Lindsay's idea apparently was not backed by ministers and there said to be not a huge deal of interest from Government.

Later on, in the December of 2001, news that Meridian Delta Ltd were going to redevelop the site had been announced. Then in 2005, the dome site was renamed the O2 Arena.

(Source: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/dec/30/newly-released-files-reveal-plan-move-millennium-dome-o2-swindon)

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