Middleton presents rescue package to Welsh Assembly

The Welsh Assembly is expected to agree to a rescue package for the National Botanic Garden of Wales this week.

The Welsh Assembly is expected to agree to a rescue package for the National Botanic Garden of Wales this week. Trustees have put forward a plan for the assembly to underwrite the Carmarthenshire project until 2009 with £3 million of public cash. This would enable partnerships with interested bodies to be fully pursued and “substantial grants” to be drawn down. Senior civil servants have been examining the plan to ensure it stands up prior to culture minister Alun Pugh presenting a formal statement of his plans this week, before the assembly ceases meetings for Christmas. Pugh played down reports that the rescue plan revolves around building a hotel and houses on part of the 230ha site. He said: “The hotel is only one possible idea.” The trustees warned Pugh that if no rescue plan is agreed by 14 December, the garden will close and liquidation commence. Conservative assembly leader Nick Bourne said: “The garden has recognised it needs better marketing and an addition to its tourism attractions. I do not see the cabinet allowing the whole thing to crash.” Middleton general manager Rhodri Griffiths said: “We’ve contacted our stakeholders and they’ve all been supportive of this plan.”

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