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First Secretary Rhodri Morgan
"I don't think we'll be releasing a single penny of Assembly money until we have a reasonable idea of the cost"
 real 56k

BBC Wales's Simon Morris
"The report put the total possible cost of the project at 104m"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 4 October, 2000, 17:51 GMT 18:51 UK
No 'Dome' for the bay - Morgan
Millennium Centre model
The Wales Millennium Centre is still at the design stage
First Secretary Rhodri Morgan has said he is determined not to create a Millennium Dome in Wales.

He was speaking after the release of a critical report on the funding of the proposed Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay.

The National Assembly has to release 15m or more before the project can go ahead.

Mr Morgan said that would not happen until the Assembly had a robust cost estimate for the project.

But Mr Morgan ruled out pulling the plug on the scheme, and said that would only happen if further investigations revealed funding problem "horrors".

Wales Millennium Centre model
The Wales Millennium Centre is still at the design stage
He said the WMC must learn the lessons of other ill-fated Millennium projects and must have a robust business plan.

In a statement Mr Morgan said the WMC had been asked to put forward proposals for a 75m scheme and had not done so.

He said he is also talking to the WMC about the need for evidence that the centre can operate successfully when it opens.

"We have to learn the lessons from other schemes that looked fine on paper but were not able to deliver the promised balance between income and expenditure when they opened," Mr Morgan said.

But the WMC said the report was out of date and the problems it highlights were being addressed.

They said the report's authors, in association with others were already working on a new report into the project.


We have to learn the lessons from other schemes that looked fine on paper but were not able to deliver the promised balance between income and expenditure when they opened

Rhodri Morgan

Sources close to negotiations over the project said they believed more funding would be made available for the centre - and that a final settlement could be announced as early as next week.

Its thought the final figure agreed for the scheme will be around 82m.

Last week Cardiff Council stepped in to protect the Wales Millennium Centre project with an offer to buy the land earmarked for the site.

The site's owners had announced on Thursday that the Cardiff Bay site was up for sale after the WMC board failed to buy the land in an agreed timescale.

The project to build a new home for the performing arts in Wales started four years ago, but it has yet to get off the drawing board.

The centre was planned to offer a permanent home for Welsh National Opera and create a 2,000-seat theatre.

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