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Monday, 30 July, 2001, 08:53 GMT 09:53 UK
Does Wales need a multi-million assembly HQ?
A row has blown up over the sacking of world renowned architect Richard Rogers as the designer of the new Welsh Assembly headquarters.
On Tuesday it was announced that that the Richard Rogers Partnership was being dropped in a row over spiralling costs.
Reacting to criticisms of his design and costs, Lord Rogers claims that he has been made a political scapegoat.
A statement from his firm said advice to the assembly had been "consistently ignored" and that management of the plans had been a "catastrophic failure".
The assembly had originally capped the project cost at £26.6m.
But a document leaked to BBC Wales revealed that the total project costs had in fact reached between £37m and £47m.
Is that too much money to spend on a building? Or is the cost worthwhile to give the assembly a home to be proud of?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
As an English Taxpayer I totally object to funding this political white elephant.
Were this money spent on helping the Welsh people then I would have no objections, but all this money will do is to give the lazy politicians another nice place to laze in..
The assembly needs a debating chamber or some other physical "focal point" as a significant and highly visible symbol of what the assembly means and stands for - a new dawn in the recent history of Wales...
Of course there will be bickering and arguing within the ranks and dissent about costs, there always is in Wales where our national pastime is to bicker and argue... one of the overriding reasons that Wales is seen in such a poor light in comparison to say Scotland and Ireland.
For once in our lives lets get together, share the vision, pull in the same direction and actually achieve something positive for Wales.
Cardiff has had enough money spent on it over the last few years.
It is about time the rest of Wales had a chance. Hospitals, schools, by-passes are of a higher
priority to the majority of the people of Wales. If the people knew in advance how much money was to be spent - especially where it was being spent and on what - the outcome of the referendum may have been totally different and
there would be no need for a new assembly.
Having visited other regional assemblies elsewhere in Europe I have no doubt that Wales should also have a building it can be proud of. That there should be such a mess made of this project and indeed that there could be any doubt about its worth is typical of Britain's failings.
The management culture in Britain is abysmal, witness the Dome, rail privatisation, etc. Almost nothing gets built on time or runs properly. This problem is compounded by the politicians' fears of being criticised by people who know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. People who don't want to live in beautiful cities of which they can feel proud. It is incredible that some of the strongest criticism has come from Cardiffians whose city stands to benefit from having the new Assembly building. They should realise that this attitude towards public investment is the same attitude which leads to poor public services in general. If they want more schools and hospitals they need to rethink their whole attitude towards public works. If not they will deserve to remain a nation of shopkeepers.
Will they use it properly?
I feel there is no necessity for a new building - what is wrong with the one that is being used already? Will a new building make it easier for AM's to work? Would the money not be better spent on the whole of Wales instead of just one building?
To my mind it has become obvious that not only do we not need a new Welsh Assembly HQ, but that we did not need a Welsh Assembly, full stop.
Three little words: "Use City Hall!"
Mr Evan Jones, Swansea
I have no objection to regional assemblies, I even voted for setting up the Welsh Assembly, but as usual the politicians are wasting our money and adding insult to injury by insisting everything has to be in Cardiff.
Scrap the new debating chamber and use the money to create satellite offices around Wales. Perhaps then the assembly would be the democratic institution it was supposed to be.
I find it disgusting that the AMs propose to spend around £47 million on an edifice to their pomposity - just trying to massage their egos. There are a large number of schools in Wales which could benefit from the money being spent on the buildings.. The money could also fund 200 more nurses for 10 years.
Had the building been proposed anywhere other than Cardiff there would have been total uproar. This will be another white elephant - a total waste of money just to impress the
Wales desperately needs a building it can be proud of to represent the first Welsh democratic institution in 500 years. Those who think the present monstrosity is good enough, or who whinge about the cost, only hold democracy and Wales itself in contempt. Whoever is responsible for this fiasco should resign immediately.
Given that only 25% of the Welsh electorate supports the concept of a Welsh Assembly, the issue of whether the proposed, inordinately expensive and ugly Assembly Building should be built at all should be decided by that Welsh Electorate by ballot. The concept of spending £46M - plus on this building when the NHS in Wales is in such dire straits only serves to confirm the indifference with which these arrogant AM's treat their electors in the rush for their own self-aggrandisement. There is nothing
wrong with the accommodation they have now
I'm against building the new assembly. They could have bought the Royal Yacht Britannia for £8m and this would have served the peripatetic needs of the assembly travelling from Cardiff to the Dee Estuary.
I am delighted that the plans for a new assembly building have collapsed as it is an abhorrent waste of rate payers' money. The AMs are just interested in the appearance of grandeur and because of this have spoilt Cardiff Bay for visitors. Why don't they use the City Hall - it's sitting there, empty at the moment. Scrap the plans completely I say and restore Cardiff Bay.
Perhaps after we have modernised and correctly staffed all our hospitals. Perhaps after we have improved our infrastructure. Perhaps after we have eliminated poor people from Wales. Our problem is we are being suffocated by far too many politicians - the UK has more politicians than the US with five times our population. Jobs for the boys and girls.
I agree that the assembly building should be built in accordance with the original plans. There is no need for all these enquiries and committees on the subject - it only adds to the cost.
There has to be a limit and £40 million is far too much. I feel that far more money is spent on South Wales and what we need here for instance is a by-pass..
It's absolutely imperative that it is built. It will give Wales the status it needs.
Strict financial management is essential but we should bear in mind that the money in question here is about 20% of what will be spent on the Scottish Parliament. This needs to be seen as a very long term project over 20 or 30 years. I've been to the current building and it is inadequate.
We have the Welsh office in King Edward V11 avenue, County Hall in Cardiff Bay and now the assembly building with a new £54,000 door for his grace Mr Rhodri Morgan. If the people of west Wales want an assembly let them have it in Carmarthenshire, where they can pay the same amount of council tax that we in Cardiff do, and then all the AM members who live beyond the 18 mile radius of the building can claim their £10,000 travelling expenses.
We don't need an assembly and we sure do not need a new building, the old City Hall in Cardiff is vacant, but because it does not have the modern luxuries of today's thermalite block/double glazed/air conditioning and computer floors for all that electric cable to be hidden, then it is not suitable for these high and mighty failed politicians.
It was inevitable that the building was not going to come in 'on cost'.
What should be produced is a functional building which would deliver
legislation without costing a fortune. Is the intention to build a 'Grand
Palace' merely to impress the natives."
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