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Wednesday, 14 November, 2001, 11:40 GMT
Rogers consortium for assembly bid
Computer generated photomontage of the proposed Welsh Assembly
The new assembly is scheduled for completion in 2004
International architect Lord Rogers has teamed up with a construction group in a bid to win back the contract to build the Welsh Assembly's new debating chamber in Cardiff.

Lord Rogers was sacked by the assembly in the summer because of concerns over escalating costs.

His firm had agreed to build the Cardiff Bay debating chamber for 27m but costs subsequently rose to between an estimated 37m and 41m.

Richard Rogers
Lord Rogers has joined a consortium

Now the Richard Rogers Partnership's design has the backing of the the housing, property and construction firm Taylor Woodrow.

The consortium also includes the international engineering firm Arup and building services engineer BDSP.

Lord Rogers's firm was controversially 'sacked' in July by Welsh Finance Minister Edwina Hart in a row over costs.

The architect - who originally agreed to a 27m budget - hit back at his treatment and has pledged to build the new chamber for 13m.

Until now Lord Rogers was not thought to have submitted a tender of any form for the contract.

The man behind the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the ill-fated Millennium Dome in London has said the assembly HQ was "one of the best buildings we have ever designed".

On Tuesday in the assembly, Conservatives AMS called for the chamber project to be scrapped, and urged the money to be spent on a new children's hospital instead.

Welsh Finance Minister Edwina Hart
Edwina Hart: Committed to project

In the debate Mrs Hart reaffirmed herself to building a new chamber and her officials are now studying 'expressions of interest' by a number of firms who have responded to an advert seeking firms to take over the project.

A spokeswoman for Taylor Woodrow told BBC Wales that they stand by the Richard Rogers design.

"We work within budget and complete on time," she added.

Work on the new building in Cardiff Bay was suspended just four months in to construction when the row over the spiralling costs became heated in July.

The deadline for the latest round of bidding for the new assembly project passed two weeks ago.

Paul Hyett, president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, has described the treatment of Lord Rogers over the past 12 months as "farcical".

A short-list of bidders is likely to be drawn up in the New Year and completion of the building is now scheduled for the second quarter of 2004.

Welsh Assembly Chamber Row

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