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Centre Chief Executive Kathryn Dowell
"This is a place which will have enjoyment and entertainment for the people of Wales."
 real 56k

Thursday, 12 October, 2000, 19:29 GMT 20:29 UK
New drama for Millennium Centre
Wales Millennium Centre model
Plans for the Wales Millennium Centre are at a design stage
The long-running saga of the Wales Millennium Arts Centre has entered a new episode of drama.

Welsh Assembly First Secretary Rhodri Morgan has said he is not prepared to fund the project without a 2m report on its design and cost.

If the report is commissioned, it would put the development back six months.

First Secretary Rhodri Morgan
Rhodri Morgan: Project must learn lessons

Mr Morgan insists he is still backing the centre, but one Labour MP has called for it to be scrapped and dumped in the dustbin of history.

Mr Morgan's announcement adds further delay to what promises to be the biggest arts project in Wales.

The centre wanted over 18m but Mr Morgan has said he wants the money spent on further work to ensure it can be built to budget and can operate commercially.

"What I asked for from the Assembly was support for on spending 2m on design fees between now and next March/April," he said.

"So we can get some reasonable degree of cost certainty before we make a final decision on whether to proceed or not with what is after all one of the most critical, flagship projects for many decades in Wales.

Kathryn Dowell
Centre chief executive Kathryn Dowell

"I hope it's going to go right. We have to take account of the fact that in spending those further 2m on design, we may uncover some big cost over-run.

"So, I can't discount the possibility that I will have to come back to the assembly and give them some very bad news."

A total of 9m has already been spent on consultancy and design of the centre.

The latest news that the next six months will see new work on costs and design, has been welcomed.

"This is a place which will have enjoyment and entertainment for the people of Wales," said Kathryn Dowell, chief executive of the Wales Millennium Centre.

"If you are someone who likes musicals, at the moment you've got to go to the West End to see them. You can see them here."

On Thursday Mr Morgan has warned that the centre could put Wales on the map or it might be a white elephant.

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