Theatre in Wales

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Arts chiefs 'missed' centre warnings     

The Arts Council of Wales has been accused of completely mismanaging its largest ever lottery grant, which was used to create the doomed Centre for Visual Arts.

Sir John Bourn, the Auditor General, said most of the £3.2m given to the failed scheme in Cardiff could never be recovered.

The CVA went over budget and was completed late in 1999 - 14 months later, it had closed down through lack of interest.

The centre hosted the British Art Show and other exhibitions

In his most strongly-worded report to date, Mr Bourn has accused the Arts Council of inadequately assessing the centre's business plan.

He added the ACW had been responsible for weak monitoring and had failed to act on clear warnings.

The arts council said it accepted the report's conclusions and added it had already changed its procedures.

Mr Bourn's report said most of the money cannot be recovered and £20,000 remains unaccounted for.

AMs will question the arts council' s chief executive Peter Tyndall next week.

The CVA, in Cardiff's Old Library building in The Hayes, was meant to provide a showcase in Wales for modern art.

But it consistently failed to attract enough visitors to make it a viable proposition.

The centre cost £9m to set up and opened in September 1999.

Trustees were predicting that 300,000 visitors would arrive in its first 12 months, which proved to be wildly over optimistic.

Many potential visitors may have been put off in part by the cost of admission to the centre.

The arts council turned down an 11th hour bid to keep the centre running last year.
BBC Wales on line  
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Thursday, November 15, 2001back



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