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Swansea shown as people's choice for Welsh assembly


Swansea is the people's choice for the home of the National Assembly for Wales, preferred by the majority of the 360 written responses to the consultation paper by Welsh Secretary of State Ron Davies, and of the 48,000 petition signatures received. Cardiff, however, remains the official and business favourite.

This week Davies published a full list of the submissions from private developers and local authorities and is expected to announce a provisional decision on the assembly's home within the next four weeks.

Fourteen proposals were made by private developers, all for sites in and around Cardiff, and 10 local authorities offered a total of 14 sites or buildings around Wales. Commercial proposals include new-build sites at Cardiff Bay, business parks and Cardiff International Airport, or conversion of existing unlet buildings in the city. The favoured location is Capital Waterside's in Cardiff Bay, alongside Crickhowell House which would be incorporated into any assembly complex.

Cardiff's City Hall has come back into the reckoning. Two developers have offered to convert the building under a pfi scheme, while the council has come up with alternatives for restoration and adaptation. Council leader Russell Goodway has backed down from his former insistence on a market-value price and is now prepared to sell the building for Davies' original bid of £3.5 million.

Of the local authority candidates for the assembly, however, the clear front-runner is Swansea's Guildhall. Davies is understood to have been so incensed by Cardiff's initial obduracy that a warm welcome was given to Swansea's well-orchestrated campaign, increasingly supported by Welsh politicians, institutions and communities.

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