Devolution: Home sought for Welsh Assembly

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The Independent Online
Battle has been joined over the location for the headquarters of the 60-strong National Assembly for Wales, which comes into being next year.

Local authority buildings at Wrexham, Mold, and Ewloe in North Wales have come under scrutiny and Neath Port Talbot Council has offered Margam Park, a vast Gothic pile just off the M4. But the contest is by general consent between Cardiff and Swansea, the principality's two largest cities.

Cardiff has all along been the choice of Ron Davies, the Secretary of State for Wales . City Hall - replete with opulent interiors, marble columns and a city centre location - was first in his sights, but the council rejected a pounds 3.5m offer as insufficient to meet the costs of relocation.

In the next few days, nine organisations will pitch to have the assembly housed in the city. Several sites are mooted in the Cardiff Bay area which is being transformed from Old Docklands to New Leisurelands.

In Swansea, the council is pushing the claims of its Guildhall, and a CD and video package extolling the city's virtues was released this week. A decision is expected early in March.