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Wednesday, 31 January, 2001, 20:30 GMT
Maritime museum 'put on hold'
Old Maritime and Industrial Museum, Cardiff Bay
The Maritime Museum was located in Cardiff Bay
Lottery funding for the new National Industrial and Maritime Museum on Swansea's waterfront has been put on hold.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund's decision to defer an announcement has thrown the scheme up in the air.

Swansea Council and the National Museum and Galleries of Wales put in a joint bid for 8.7m of lottery cash for the museum.

The new centre was intended to replace the Welsh Industrial Museum, which closed two years ago in Cardiff Bay.

The museum was seen as the centrepiece of a multi-million pound facelift of Swansea's waterfront.

The scheme's backers were optimistic a decision would be made by spring this year.

But the Heritage Lottery Fund has now postponed a decision indefinitely.

A statement from the lottery organisers said it recognised that Swansea offered an ideal location for such a museum and that the area had a great deal of popular support.

The organisation added that it was deferring a decision to allow for "more clarification of the status of EU funding in Wales".

The National Museum and council are also being given "more time to fully develop the proposal for a viable and sustainable project for the whole of Wales", the statement added.

The decision to close the museum in Cardiff Bay in 1998 before a new location was found caused an angry response.

In June 1999, the Welsh Office rejected criticism of the demolition in a damning report by the Welsh Affairs Select Committee.

MPs attacked a multi-million pound deal to create an area for the Mermaid Quay shopping centre which was made between the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation and NMGW.

The committee said the deal created "an aura of shadiness" but MPs accepted that nothing improper had taken place.

The maritime museum in Cardiff hosted a number of exhibitions, including a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the car in Wales.

It held permanent exhibits illustrating the history of Wales's industrial docklands and coal mining in the Valleys.

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