Wales politics

10 years of the Senedd: 'A central part of Welsh life'

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Media captionThe Queen officially opened the Senedd in 2006

A "central part of Welsh public life" and "Battlestar Galactica" are just two phrases used to describe the Senedd during its first 10 years.

It is a decade since the Welsh assembly's home opened on 1 March 2006, after costing £70m to build.

The debating chamber - the Siambr - where all 60 AMs sit has seen 46 acts and measures passed during that time.

More than one million people have visited with staff conducting 30,000 tours for 200,000 people.

The Welsh assembly initially met in Ty Hywel from 1999 before the Senedd opened next door in 2006.

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Image caption The debating chamber inside the Welsh assembly

Presiding officer Dame Rosemary Butler AM said the building has now "established itself as a central part of Welsh public life".

She said her favourite part is the public gallery, which gives "a real feel for what is happening" and conveys the excitement of the Siambr.

"I remember going to speak to a group of schoolchildren who were visiting there, and they said it felt like they were on the Battlestar Galactica," she added.

In March 2015, it emerged the makers of the James Bond film Spectre were refused permission to use the Siambr for a scene.

Officials gave the response that "it is not a drama studio".

The venue has, however, played host to events including the Wales rugby team's grand slam celebration in 2012 and the homecoming of Welsh Olympians and Paralympians from the London 2012 games.

As well as being designed with the aim of creating the most distinctive building in the country, it has scooped numerous design awards and achieved the highest sustainability award for a new-build in Wales.

It was designed by architects Lord Richard Rogers and Ivan harbour, who wanted to create an accessible building that appeared to rise on a plinth of Welsh slate from Cardiff Bay.

Mr Harbour said: "(Former Prime Minister) Jim Callaghan asked and hoped that the Senedd would come to symbolise Wales across the world.

"Ten years after its completion, I also hope that it has achieved that ambition."

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