Assembly's bill for cleaning self-clean glass

Taxpayers will pay a £41,000 annual window-cleaning bill for "self-clean glass" at the Welsh Assembly's new £55m building in Cardiff.

But visitors to the prestige chamber will have to use plastic cutlery and throw-away plates, it was claimed yesterday.Welsh Conservatives opposed to the building revealed the design lacks adequate space for food preparation or dish washing."This is just one of several serious oversights in the design of the new assembly building," said Tory AM William Graham, a member of the assembly's house committee.

"The new building, at a cost of £55m, was promoted as representing Labour's vision of the future of Wales," he said.

"It was not to be just a prominent landmark on the Cardiff Bay skyline, it was to attract an increasing number of visitors to 'witness' Welsh politics in action and to enhance visitor facilities.

"Their vision of Wales will not be represented by a prestige restaurant, serving meals that reflect the quality and range of Welsh produce, it will be represented by 'roadside burger van' style disposable cups, plates and cutlery."

Another feature of the new building was the use of "selfcleaning" glass which will now cost £41,000 each year to clean - that is over £1,000 for each week the Assembly is in session, Mr Graham said.

"It appears someone overlooked telling the seagulls to avoid the Bay, or responsible Assembly Cabinet Ministers were asleep when I questioned the Environment Minister on the problems associated with our increasing urban gull population," he said.

"Another feature that would have enhanced the building's attraction would have been a terrace overlooking the Bay.

"Visitors and assembly members alike will have a panoramic view of the walls of Crickhowell House and the Wales Millennium Centre towering over them."

The assembly government said the chamber building was never intended to house restaurant facilities which already exist in the neighbouring office block.

"The estimated cost of cleaning glass has been prepared by the Assembly Parliamentary Services for the budget bidding round."

600450 Assembly's bill for cleaning self-clean glass
Date: 12 August 2004

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