Public Accounts Committee says ministers failed to secure best deal.

More than five years into the new millennium and the government has come in for a fresh round of criticism of its handling of the Dome, this time from the cross-party Public Accounts Committee, which says it probably failed to get the best deal it could when selling the building.

In a report published today, the committee said: “it is difficult to be confident that the deal which was finally secured offered the best value for money that could have been achieved.”

The Dome first went up for sale in 1999, but after confusion among potential buyers as to what land was actually included in the price it took until May 2002 to strike a deal with Meridian Delta Ltd and Anschutz Entertainment Group.

Committee chairman Edward Leigh MP said: “given that there was only one viable bid in the end, only the incurably optimistic will be confident that value for money has been secured.”

English Partnerships, the regeneration agency who owned the site, got no money from the sale, but will receive a percentage of profits made by the consortium as it redevelops the whole of the Greenwich peninsula. It plans to house a 20,000-seat arena in the Dome, and build 10,000 new homes on the site.