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PHOTOS: Stadium for Cornwall 'will deliver more benefits'

PHOTOS: Stadium for Cornwall 'will deliver more benefits'

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 6:04am 12th April 2018. (Updated at 6:43am 12th April 2018)

Cornwall councillors have been told that the Stadium for Cornwall has developed into a project which will deliver more benefits for the county than previously thought.

A special briefing was held today to give councillors more information and the chance to pose questions to those behind the stadium before they make a decision on whether the provide £3million to the project.

The stadium, which is planned for a site near Threemilestone outside Truro, has been a long term ambition and would provide a home for the Cornish Pirates, Truro City Football Club and facilities for Truro and Penwith College.

It was originally intended that the stadium, which in its first phase will have a 6,000 capacity, would be financed through the partners and through a retail development planned close to the site.

However the retail development has stalled and so the partners approached Cornwall Council earlier this year and asked for £6m of public money to reach the £14m needed to build the stadium.

Cornwall Council officers have suggested that the authority could provide half of the funding with the rest provided from central government, fulfilling a promise made by former Prime Minister David Cameron that the government would step in if required.

Stadium for Cornwall 2

On Tuesday all 123 members of Cornwall Council will meet at County Hall and decide whether the council should provide the £3m for the project.

At the briefing this afternoon councillors heard from Mike Thomas of Cornwall Sports Partnership and Kim Conchie, chief executive of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, who outlined why they support the stadium.

Mr Conchie said that the stadium provided an opportunity for Cornwall and said that the chamber and its members were in support. He said it would provide facilities which don’t currently exist in Cornwall.

He added: “If Cornwall misses this opportunity to demonstrate our vision for the future we will be kicking ourselves in a few years’ time and not a ball.”

Mr Thomas said that the stadium would provide clear benefits for the health and wellbeing of people in Cornwall and highlighted that outreach programmes would aim to work with 120 schools across Cornwall and get 3,000 more young people active.

He said that the total health and wellbeing benefits of the stadium could be worth an estimated £27m to public services in Cornwall.

Nigel Blackler, from Cornwall Council, who has been working on the stadium project for the council since the beginning of the year, highlighted that it was not unusual for local authorities to get involved with stadiums.

He produced a list of stadiums which had received financial backing from councils which included Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium which had £22m from Manchester City Council; the Liberty Stadium which is used by Swansea City FC and received £27m from Swansea City Council and the Arbor Park Stadium which is used by Slough Town FC and received £7.9m from Slough Borough Council.

Stadium for Cornwall 3

Mr Blackler told councillors that the stadium proposals as they were now were far different and much better than they were in 2012 when they had previously been detailed.

He said that the health and wellbeing, education and business facilities and community group benefits were far greater than any previous proposal.

Mr Blackler also highlighted that it was not unusual for the council to provide capital funding for projects in Cornwall identifying the likes of the Hall for Cornwall, Tate St Ives, Superfast Broadband and road schemes as being some of the many which the council has provided match funding for.

Cabinet member Bob Egerton highlighted again that the money which would be used for the funding would come from unallocated funds in the council’s match funding for economic development and was completely separate from the funding which is used to operate council services.

He said that councillors would have to decide: “Do they want to become a council that does nothing but mends potholes and look after the elderly? We have put money into other projects that we think have a public benefit.”

The project is aiming to have £8m in place for the stadium and currently has £2m secured from each of the Pirates, Truro City and Truro and Penwith College.

Paul Durkin, chairman of the Cornish Pirates, said that plans were being drawn up to launch a crowdfunding campaign which would aim to raise the additional £2m which would be needed. If the campaign did not meet the target then he said the shortfall would be met by the Pirates and the college.

Stadium for Cornwall 4

Councillors also heard that Pirates owner Dicky Evans had agreed to guarantee £300,000 a year for the first 10 years for the running of the stadium.

Mark Evans, project leader for the Stadium for Cornwall, has 25 years of experience in sports stadiums all over the world.

The former CEO of Harlequins and director of rugby at Saracens said that he believed that the Cornwall project was not too optimistic or too large and had been drawn up on the same basis as those which had been a success.

Some councillors highlighted that the business plan stated that Truro City could face an annual service charge of up to £80,000 to use the stadium, in addition to a peppercorn rent as part of a 125-year lease.

However football club chairman Peter Masters told councillors that the club would be unable to meet that figure and that he was looking to pay £18,000 to £20,000 which he said was similar to that which the club currently pays at Treyew Road.

Councillor John Fitter raised the issue of location but Nigel Blackler told him that in his opinion if the site analysis was repeated now the site would be found to have even more benefits thanks to improvements in access since the original reports were undertaken in 2012.

The full council meeting will take place on Tuesday at 10am.

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