Nirah project in financial crisis
The company planning to build the world's largest freshwater aquarium and research facility may have to abandon the project.
According to a report from the BBC, NIRAH, the National Institute for Research into Aquatic Habitats, needs more than 300,000 to continue with the project, otherwise it may have to call in the receivers.
The domed complex is due to be built in a disused brick pit in Stewartby, Bedfordshire, and is four times the size of Cornwall's Eden Project.
If built, it will house the world's largest freshwater aquarium and provide a unique opportunity for researchers to work on a range of species.
The NIRAH project is due to bring increased revenue from the tourism industry to Bedfordshire and the UK and could provide up to 2500 jobs.
The BBC reports that NIRAH directors met yesterday to discuss project finances and are hoping that Bedfordshire County Council will back the project by providing the extra funds they need to prevent them going into receivership.
Bedfordshire Sunday claims that Bedfordshire County Council is being obstructive and says that NIRAH may move to the USA if it runs out of cash.
It says that NIRAH has contacted the council and informed them that it is planning to either go into receivership or relocate outside Bedfordshire if the council doesn't cooperate.
Bedfordshire Sunday reported Patrick Hall, MP for Bedford and Kempston, as saying: "An over-cautious attitude is potentially killing a brilliant scheme. The council, instead of showing leadership, is going back on its word and showing it cannot be trusted."
Peter May, chairman of Nirah, said told the paper: "We have tried our utmost to bring Nirah to Bedfordshire and have been met with fantastic support from the public. Nearly 1,000 people have been through the exhibitions and of those 95 per cent have been in favour of the idea. But despite the help of the Mayor of Bedford Frank Branston and MPs Patrick Hall and Alistair Burt we have come to the end of the road."
If the project fails, it is likely to relocate to Bedford, Massachusetts.