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Tuesday, 10 October, 2000, 13:35 GMT 14:35 UK
Cash call for Millennium Centre
Wales Millennium Centre model
Plans for the Wales Millennium Centre are at a design stage
First Secretary Rhodri Morgan has been accused of "indecision and dithering" for delaying the assembly's financial commitment to the 85m Wales Millenium Centre project.

Conservative AM Jonathan Morgan criticised Mr Morgan during First Secretary's Questions on Tuesday for not pressing ahead with committing 15m to the scheme.

Rhodri Morgan stressed his support for the project, but said that the assembly could not give a commitment to the project when there was no certainty about cost.

Owen John Thomas AM had put the question of the assembly's financial input towards the project, which he said was vital to kick-start the troubled centre.

Owen John Thomas AM
Owen John Thomas: Centre assurances sought
The prestigious 2,000 seat theatre and performance venue was set to be built on a prime piece of land in Cardiff Bay.

But a deal between site owners Grosvenor Waterside and the Wales Millennium Commission has fallen through.

Cardiff Council stepped in to try and buy the land, but the site was placed on the open market.

Mr Thomas told BBC News Online Wales that he was confident the council's package could be agreed to by the end of the month.

'A winner'

"Grosvenor Waterside has a great deal to benefit from this," said Mr Thomas, Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales Central.

"You are not going to get a better project on the site than this.

"We are talking about raising the GDP of Wales and we have to be prepared to do things such as this that will bring that about.

"Once it is given the go ahead, the centre will be a winner."

First Secretary Rhodri Morgan
Rhodri Morgan: Project must learn lessons

Last week, Mr Morgan said he was 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.

Mr Morgan said the release of 15m of assembly funding would not happen until he had received a robust cost estimate for the project.

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

He said the WMC must learn the lessons of other ill-fated millennium projects and must have a robust business plan.

Mr Thomas said the assembly's input of between 15-16m would be a key step forward for the project.

"It would help draw upon funds from other areas. We hope to get this flagship building, which will enhance Cardiff Bay and the city."

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