Cornish Pirates home plans reality or mirage?


Stadium for Cornwall update October 2021 Image: Stadium for Cornwall (Facebook)

The ongoing saga of the Stadium for Cornwall (UK) took another turn recently with the professional rugby union team Cornish Pirates announcing that work could finally start on the project next year.

The ‘Cornwall Live’ stated that it is over nine years since planning permission was granted for the stadium, which would be home to the Cornish Pirates rugby team and Truro City Football Club, which now plays its games out of county at Plymouth Parkways 3,500-capacity Bolitho Park in England.

The Stadium for Cornwall is a proposed multipurpose stadium in Threemilestone, Cornwall, England.

The Cornish Pirates are a professional rugby union team who play in the Championship, the second level of the English rugby union pyramid, and are the premier Cornish rugby club. Formerly known as Penzance & Newlyn RFU, the Cornish Pirates play and train at their home ground, the Mennaye Field in Penzance (town in England).

The 4,000-capacity Mennaye Field is a sports stadium located in Penzance, Cornwall, UK.

The stadium planned at Langarth, outside Truro (UK), is also set to provide a host of community facilities, including a sports injury clinic, as well as conference facilities which is due to be operated by Truro and Penwith College as part of its hospitality courses and training.

Funding for the venue is due to come from the stadium partners who include the Pirates, Truro City and the college. In addition, Cornwall Council committed £3 million of funding and has provided the land at Langarth next to the site earmarked for the Langarth Garden Village development, which is being led by the Council.

The ‘Cornwall Live’ further stated that the Council funding is provided on condition that it is matched by the Government, honoring a commitment which was made by the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron. There were hopes that the present Prime Minister Boris Johnson would announce the £3m funding this year but the money has still not been released.

Now the Pirates have stated on their website that work could begin next year on the Stadium for Cornwall – as long as the Government commits to its pledge to match fund local investment.

The project, which has evolved considerably from its original blueprint, will be built next to the Langarth Village development at Threemilestone in Truro (UK) and will include an all-weather pitch, conference center and a sports injury clinic.

If and when the stadium is ever built, it will also be the home of an innovative head injury center, studying concussion and vascular dementia in sport.

Speaking earlier this year, the Cornish Pirates and Truro City Football Club owner Dicky Evans said he was moving the stadium project into community ownership.

Maintained Evans, “This project is so much more than a matchday experience for fans. We are building partnerships that will protect the use of the venue for the community for the 325 non-matchdays per year. I will be moving the stadium into community ownership to protect this now and in perpetuity. There are legal agreements to sort out but there is a new wider team from across Cornwall business, education and community leading on new uses that make it an amazing place for everyone.”

Taken with a pinch of salt

The announcement that work could start next year has been met with a certain amount of cynicism on the Cornish Pirates’ Facebook page.

Wrote one fan, “How many years have we heard this now?”

Another said, “I will believe it when I see it. Hopefully this will go ahead this time and we can see the end of this saga.”

Added another Cornish Pirates follower, “More likely to see gladiators back at the Coliseum in Rome than we are to see work on this doomed project begin next year.”

However, few painted a positive picture.

A fan observed, “I don’t know why everyone is being so negative. If you want to grow the club you need to have proper facilities. This will be the catalyst.”

FB page video plea

The ‘Stadium for Cornwall on Facebook’ stated that a full-length video on the rugby club’s Facebook page urged people to support the whole initiative to build a stadium for the Cornish Pirates – “It’s time for kickoff. The new Stadium 4 Cornwall needs you now. The home is where the heart is. We are building a home for Cornwall’s sporting giants. The new stadium will boast an iconic all-weather pitch and it will be a 6,000-capacity stadium. Expanding horizons and responding to a changing world, the state-of-the-art stadium will be a hub for the future for growing talent on the pitch with world-class training facilities. It will also train the star chefs of the future and the next generation of media professionals with a cutting-edge broadcast studio. We will be reaching out to the community and especially the kids. We will build physical and mental health. The stadium will be the beating heart of Cornwall and will be owned by the people of Cornwall for the people of Cornwall forever. We need the support of the Central Government. You supported the planning, you supported the Council vote. Let’s make it a hattrick and get £14m from the Government. All you have to do is go to the Stadium 4 Cornwall website and pledge your support once again. Help us score for the future of Cornwall for one and all.”

Sportva Kernow, Stadium for Cornwall, a sports, health and education campus which will be a rallying point for Cornish pride, the community and a center for the promotion of health and wellbeing.

The ‘Stadium for Cornwall on Facebook’ further stated that Sportva Kernow is a long-term investment in Cornwall. It will drive employment and growth in the local economy, creating a larger pool from which funding for essential services can be raised. The stadium also offers enormous community benefits.

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