Stadium for Cornwall project ‘killed off’



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Stadium for Cornwall update June Image: Stadium for Cornwall

The partners behind the Stadium for Cornwall (British Isles) have accused the Cornwall Council and local MPs of turning their backs on the project and effectively “killing it off” in its current form.

‘Cornwall Live’ stated that recently the Cornwall Council leader Linda Taylor announced there was no money in the budget for the project even though the scheme has received planning permission and has been at least 10 years in the making.

The Stadium for Cornwall was a proposed multipurpose stadium in Threemilestone, Cornwall, a county within the British Isles. There are no major sports stadia in Cornwall: The largest capacity ground is the 7,000-capacity Recreation Ground in Camborne.

‘Cornwall Live’ further stated that Councilor Taylor said the local authority had not made any provisions for the stadium in its budget, leading to fears that this could spell the end for the project.

The stadium would have provided a new home for the Cornish Pirates rugby club and the Truro City Football Club as well as facilities for the third partner in the project, the Truro and Penwith College.

Despite being given outline planning approval in 2012, the project had remained in limbo as wrangles over land ownership and funding have simmered on. Last year, it was suggested the stadium might have to be scaled down from a 10,000-seat capacity to 6,000 because of rising costs. In 2018, it was estimated it would cost £14.3 million but that is believed to have increased since.

The Cornwall Council leader informed that there was no Council money for the stadium, even though it committed £3m to the project three years ago as long as that was matched by the Government – a pledge made by former Prime Minister David Cameron which has never materialized. The Council leader said it was the stadium partners’ fault if the project had collapsed because they had not provided a sound business case.

Now the partners in the project have responded in kind saying both the Cornwall Council and the local MPs had turned their back on the stadium, calling the decision a “huge disappointment”.

Martin Tucker, Chairman of the Stadium for Cornwall CIC, and Principal of Truro and Penwith College, said the college had decided that it will no longer be a partner in the project as a result of the local authority’s decision.

He said, “Board members of the Stadium for Cornwall CIC were incredibly disappointed to learn recently that the Cornwall Council was withdrawing support for the Culture bid being worked on by the CIC as part of the Government’s Levelling Up programme. The Council had requested that the CIC write the bid on their behalf, and it was actively engaged in the writing process at the time. At no stage of this process was the CIC asked to resubmit the Stadium for Cornwall business case and remained confident of its delivery following previous scrutiny and approval by Sport England on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.”

Added Tucker, “The reason given to the CIC for the withdrawal of Culture bid support was a reluctance from both the Council and the local MPs to see funding going towards the stadium project at the expense of other projects that might go for funding in future rounds of the Levelling Up programme.”

He added, “As a result of the Council’s withdrawal, the Stadium for Cornwall CIC board has voted to cease codeveloping the Stadium for Cornwall project in its former capacity. Truro and Penwith College will no longer be a key stakeholder in the project, which is a huge disappointment after 12 years of hard work from everyone involved.”

Tucker said that while the Stadium for Cornwall in its current proposed form was dead in the water, the group will now move to support the future of the Langarth site as a Truro City Football Club-led development, adding, “We remain fully supportive of their efforts to create a smaller ground facility that would still provide for rugby, football, and importantly, high levels of community use for people and organizations from across Cornwall.”

A spokeswoman for Cornwall Council has also confirmed what the Council leader, Councilor Taylor, announced recently, insisting that it will help identify other funding streams.

The spokeswoman added, “Due to a change in the Levelling Up Fund (LUF) criteria, the Cornwall Council has taken the decision not to submit a bid for the Stadium for Cornwall project on this occasion. We had understood that submissions to the ‘culture’ strand of LUF were additional to the six parliamentary constituency bids we are able to put forward under the rules. However, this is not the case and we have taken the decision to focus on those constituency bids at this time. We would like to thank the stadium partners for the work they have done and will continue to work with them to identify appropriate funding opportunities in the future.”

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