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Valleys link blamed for culture failure     

Cardiff's attempt to become European Capital of Culture for 2008 failed partly because it did not include the Valleys enough, according to the man who led the judging panel.
But the organisers of Cardiff's bid have reacted with surprise to the comments from Sir Jeremy Isaacs, saying that all of Wales had been included in its proposals.

Speaking after Liverpool was given the honour, Sir Jeremy Isaacs said that Cardiff's bid had been a very strong contender, and its strengths far outweighed its weaknesses.

"But, in the end, we weren't absolutely sure the Valleys were present in Cardiff as the bid in some ways suggested they were meant to be," said Sir Jeremy.

A Cardiff 2008 spokesman said it was "bizarre" to have singled out the Valleys in this way.

" It is a real bonus and I think that the government realised that it was a very close competition and the cities had put in so much effort and investment "
Bet Davies, Cardiff 2008

"We have always emphasised that the bid was on behalf of the whole of Wales," she said.

Meanwhile, Cardiff has been promised extra cash by the prime minister, in addition to the £6m of marketing funding awarded to the runners up of the European Capital of Culture for 2008.

The sum - which is not yet known - will be given to all of the losing cities to help pay for some of the projects put forward in the bids.

It will be added to the £6m put forward by British Tourism to promote the short listed cities across Europe.

Cardiff put a number of proposals forward in its bid including the conversion of a former tram shed into a modern art venue called The Depot.

The Grade Two listed building, in the Grangetown area of Cardiff, is currently being used as a repair depot for the council's vehicle fleet.

The cost of converting it has been estimated at £3.5m and in the bid, the Cardiff 2008 team said it would rival the Tate Modern in London and the Baltic in Gateshead.

Bet Davies, the head of marketing for Cardiff 2008 said that the cash was a boost to the £6m which has already been earmarked.

"It is a real bonus and I think that the government realised that it was a very close competition and the cities had put in so much effort and investment.

"I think that they felt that they couldn't walk away from it and it is win win for everyone," she said.

There was disappointment in Cardiff following culture secretary Tessa Jowell's announcement on Wednesday that Liverpool had taken the European City of Culture title.

But leaders of the city's bid pledged that many of the projects planned for Cardiff would continue, ahead of the city's centenary in 2005.

Initially, 12 cities were contesting the title, before the shortlist of six was announced in October 2002.

The other contenders on the shortlist were Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol, Newcastle-Gateshead and Oxford.
BBC Wales on line  
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Thursday, June 05, 2003back



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