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Maureen Kelly, Royal Society of Architects in Wales
"If you want to extend Crickhowell House, you must be off your rocker"
 real 28k

Former First Secretary Alun Michael
"We need a statement of confidence in the Assembly and in Wales"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 23 May, 2000, 18:36 GMT 19:36 UK
Assembly building may be ditched
Assembly building options
Options open to First Secretary Rhodri Morgan
The new glass building for the Welsh Assembly could be ditched in favour of a smaller extension to its present home.

First Secretary Rhodri Morgan is looking at the option of building a new, smaller extension to the existing Assembly building in Cardiff Bay.

The extension is an alternative to a state-of-the-art building by the Richard Rogers Partnership which Mr Morgan put on hold in March.


Ron Davies
Ron Davies said it would be disastrous

But the idea has already come in for criticism.

Former Welsh Secretary Ron Davies said it would be a "disastrous blow for the confidence of the Assembly".

Warning of compensation that would have to be paid to architects, he said: "Everbody agrees that the existing basement in Crickhowell House is unsatisfactory and needs changing."

Mr Davies was joined byformer first secretary Alun Michael, who said Wales needed a statement of confidence about its well being.

Conservative AM Glyn Davies condemned the "mini conservatory" as "sheer stupidity".

Arguing that the Assembly's present home is adequate, he said Mr Morgan "had dug himself into a frightful mess over the new building project".



Glyn Davies AM: 'Stupidity'

"You build a 'mini conservatory' instead of 'the Rogers conservatory' just to say he had built something, will be to pile sheer stupidity on top of economic foolishness," he said.

The first secretary put the brakes on the Richard Rogers project two months ago saying he wanted to make sure the Assembly was getting value for money.

He ordered full costings of other options, including a return to the building originally earmarked for the Assembly - Cardiff City Hall.

Mr Morgan would not comment, but his official spokesman said nothing was being ruled in or ruled out at this stage.

He said that various alternatives were being looked at - all in Cardiff - but that it would be "a few more weeks" before a decision is be made.

The former president of the Royal Society of Architects in Wales, Maureen Kelly Owen, said the National Assembly should have given the architects a proper brief.

"To put an extension on the existing Crickhowell House - one of the most uninspired buildings in Wales - shows a lack of vision and confidence," she said.

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