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Thursday, November 13, 1997 Published at 18:58 GMT


Millennium handouts decided

6.7 million grant for Bath to create a new spa complex

Projects worth £221m to celebrate the Millennium have been announced.

There will be 71 schemes sharing the latest lottery cash handout, the last grants to be awarded by the Millennium Commission.

They include new public squares in Leeds and Coventry and new bridges in York, Newcastle and London.

In Newcastle, a footbridge over the Tyne will provide access to the new Baltic Flour Mills arts complex.

[ image: A pedestrian bridge will link Bankside to St Paul's Cathedral]
A pedestrian bridge will link Bankside to St Paul's Cathedral
In London, the plans include a pedestrian bridge over the Thames linking St Paul's Cathedral with the new Tate Gallery at Bankside.

Culture Secretary Chris Smith, chairman of the Commission, said: "They will act as milestones of achievement at the end of the millennium and markers of aspiration into the next."

Mr Smith added: "The projects approved by the Millennium Commission this week are part of the final wave of a £3 billion programme of unparalleled economic and social investment.

"The whole programme is a stunning demonstration of what can be achieved through the application of Lottery funding to deliver imaginative and constructive projects before and during the year 2000."

[ image: Whitehaven harbour in Cumbria will receive a 6m facelift]
Whitehaven harbour in Cumbria will receive a 6m facelift
The nationwide projects are:

  • A Millennium Library. A grant of £4m to donate 245 Everyman Library classic titles (250 volumes) to 4,500 state secondary schools. They will also be placed on a web site for worldwide reading.
  • Rural Churches. A grant of £2.5m to mark the millennium in 100 rural churches and to adapt the churches for community use.
  • Drinking fountains. Up to £172,000 for the Drinking Fountain Association to provide 100 new drinking fountains and four special millennium fountains.

Other winning schemes include:

  • In Bath a £6.7m grant will help create a new spa complex in the city centre combining with the refurbishment of the historic Royal Baths and Pump Room.
  • Leeds gets £5.4m towards a new Millennium Square, providing public space in the city centre and regenerating derelict buildings.
  • Bury St Edmunds successfully bid for £5.1m to complete the 16th Century St Edmundsbury Cathedral.
  • £3.9m to redevelop Southwark Cathedral in London.
  • In Derbyshire a £6.2m grant will help build a visitor centre on the site of a former colliery for the National Forest.

Mr Smith cited five areas into which the 71 projects granted awards today fell.

Science and technology; the revitalisation of cities; environmental regeneration; education; local communities.

"The Millennium is an accident of the calendar, but it is a lot more than that. And it gives us a real opportunity to reflect on the best of the past and build something permanent for the future," he said.

Mr Smith said that all the projects would be finished either by January 1 2000 or completed during the millennium year, and would be opened on a rolling timetable throughout that year.

He added: "These projects are not directed by the Millennium Commission or the Government.

"They reflect the aspirations of the public and their achievements. I believe they are an exciting range of projects to take Britain into the third millennium."

The Commission is one of the five good causes supported by the National Lottery and its aim is to assist communities in marking the year 2000.

The Millennium Exhibition dome in Greenwich, London, is the most controversial and expensive project supported by the Commission.

The Government says the dome will stand as an international testament in the nation's standing - modern, fair and strong.

Bob Marshall-Andrews speaking on BBC Radio: "We must have total transparency"
Chris Smith, the Culture Secretary, the Millennium Project will 'transform' London

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