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Thursday, 2 November, 2000, 07:46 GMT
Plans to sell Millennium Centre site
Wales Millennium Centre plans
An architect's model of the Wales Millennium Centre
Cardiff Bay developers Grosvenor Waterside have made contingency plans to sell the 4.7-acre site earmarked for the Wales Millennium Centre if building work has not started within twelve months.

This latest twist in the project's development is revealed in the BBC Wales Welsh-language current affairs programme Manylu.

Owen John Thomas
Owen John Thomas: "Morgan misled public"
It fuels speculation that plans to develop a major arts centre in Cardiff Bay may still fail unless adequate funding can be found.

Pressure is mounting on First Minister Rhodri Morgan to give his firm backing to the centre, despite his statement two weeks ago that he would release 2m to take the design of the project to the detail of RIBA stage D which would bring about greater cost certainty.

According to former first secretary Alun Michael MP: "Rhodri Morgan has made the right decision in releasing funds for design work to go ahead.

"But he could have said the same thing in a much more positive way and I believe he should have done so."

Christine Stokes, business development officer for the Wales Millennium Centre, is now confident that the project will go ahead.

But Owen John Thomas, Plaid Cymru spokesman on the Millennium centre, said Rhodri Morgan has misled the public by releasing details the project was way over budget three months after the report was written and after a substantial redesign of the building had brought costs down.

Sale completed

The Turner Townsend report shocked AMs with suggestions that the Centre had never been on budget and that the costs originally estimated at 70 - 75m could escalate to over 100m.

Experts are roughly in agreement that the revised plan will cost around 81m.

Speaking to Manylu, Grosvenor Waterside estates director Phillip Williams confirmed that the sale of the WMC site to Cardiff County Council was completed on Tuesday, 31 October.

He added that if building has not started on site within a year the site will be jointly remarketed with the intention of selling the land to a private developer.

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See also:

12 Oct 00 | Wales
New drama for Millennium Centre
10 Oct 00 | Wales
Cash call for Millennium Centre
04 Oct 00 | Wales
No 'Dome' for the bay - Morgan
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