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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 June 2006, 12:27 GMT 13:27 UK
Aquarium directors ask for report
Directors planning a research complex are facing a cash crisis
Directors planning to build one of the largest freshwater aquariums in the world are asking to see an accountants' report on their business plan.

Peter May, from the National Institute for Research into Aquatic Habitats (Nirah), said the report cost 20,000 of public money so should be published.

The East of England Development Agency (EEDA) said the report into the project at Stewartby, Beds, is in draft form.

Mr May believes the publishing delay is holding up new finance for the project.

Mr May said Nirah was promised loans of 4m from Bedfordshire County Council and EEDA, which commissioned the report from Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC), to take the project to the stage of acquiring outline planning permission for a former quarry site at Stewartby.

Extraordinary attitude

"We need 300,000 for staff salaries, to work on the project at Stewartby, pay solicitors and secure the planning permission itself," he said.

"In fact, the actual amount we need is more than that, it's 800,000 but remember this is matched with funding from the private sector.

"Several people working on the project are prepared to take deferred income in the form of shares."

He said the attitude of EEDA and Bedfordshire County Council, which also has a copy of the report, is extraordinary.

"If the report was that damning on the project why will they not let us see it. Are they not confident in what it says?"

EEDA said in a statement: "The PWC report is still in draft form and neither Bedfordshire County Council or EEDA has received the final version.

"We have provided a summary and critique of the draft report to Nirah and will discuss the matter with them further once we have the final report."

Aquarium scheme cash 'restricted'
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21 Jun 06 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts
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11 May 05 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts
Concerns over giant aquarium plan
29 Mar 05 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts
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10 Dec 04 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts

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