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VERDICT: Decision on funding for Stadium for Cornwall

VERDICT: Decision on funding for Stadium for Cornwall

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 2:27pm 17th April 2018. (Updated at 5:49pm 17th April 2018)

The Stadium for Cornwall will be handed £3m of public money.

It is after the council debated the future of the ambitious project on Tuesday morning.

stadium

Councillors voted 69 for to 41 against the proposal.

Seven abstained from the vote.

It is hoped the government will now foot the rest of the bill - and Cornwall Council's money will only be handed over if the Government follows with its own £3m.

The partners behind the stadium, the Cornish Pirates, Truro City FC and Truro and Penwith College, put a bid in to the council back in January to ask for £6m of public funding.

But councillors decided that it would be better for the authority to provide half of the funding and the other half would come from central Government.

That has been based on former Prime Minister David Cameron's promise that the Government would help if funding the Stadium for Cornwall was a struggle.

Jack Richards, Stadium for Cornwall ambassador, said: "This is the first hurdle we've gone over, and there's a few more hurdles to get through, but one thing I have to say is that it is a great, great start.

"At least some sense has come into the proceedings.

"It's only the start, we need to get funding from Government but it's a good project and I'm pleased that councillors have voted so.

"It shows that with the system we have in Cornwall, a lot of big councillors have been able to help us on this.

"So a big thank you to the councillors and a big thank you to supporters who have helped us along the line."

The proposed plans have received huge support from the sporting community, including Cornwall's own rugby star Jack Nowell.

It comes after original plans for a retail park development on a site next to the site of the proposed stadium near Threemilestone to provide up to £10m of funding fell through.

Now the partners themselves have put in £2m each for what will be a £14m project.

But the council's £3m funding also depends on a full business case being approved by its own chief financial officer and by an independent assessor.

Cornwall Council cabinet member for Planning and Economy Bob Egerton said: “This decision recognises the wider benefits that a Stadium for Cornwall will bring to the whole of Cornwall. 

"This is money that is set aside to support infrastructure to help grow the wider economy of Cornwall - it is not money that we are in any way diverting from delivering day to day services.”

“I want to thank our six Cornish MPs for the support that they have given to this project.  We will also be submitting a business case requesting a similar figure from central government.

"We know that this funding is not guaranteed, but we will continue to work with the MPs and we are hopeful that it can be achieved.”

Those behind the plans have revealed the remaining £2m would be raised through a crowdfunding campaign.

However if that doesn't reach the target, the Pirates and Truro College say they will be forced to make up the shortfall.

The money for the stadium will come from the council’s economic development match fund, which can only be used for capital projects.

It means it would be against the law for the council to transfer funds to frontline services, which many argue is where it would be better spent.

This is used purely for projects which it is believed will benefit to Cornwall and fit with the council’s economic development programme.

You can read more about how it will work here.

stadium

Negotiations are now underway for the rest of the money by Cornwall Conservative MPs Sarah Newton and Derek Thomas, with the support of the county’s four other Tory MPs.

But the Government has yet to indicate it will provide any funding.

Those who argued against the bid for public money say it would be better spent elsewhere, such as health services.

And it has caused a mixed reaction on Facebook.

Jeffrey Isted said: "£3 million down the drain with the rest of our money this Council has wasted"

Ben Jago added: "Just more proof of how useless they actually are!"

However, others have celebrated the news.

Lee McKinstry said: "Brilliant news, just what Cornwall needs. £3 million in today’s money is nothing."

The 6,000 seater on the outskirts of Truro would be home to the Cornish Pirates, Truro City FC and Truro and Penwith College.

It is hoped the stadium will be ready for August 2019.

A Stadium for Cornwall spokesperson said: “The stadium partners are delighted that Cornwall’s Councillors have given their support - voting 69 for to 41 against - for our vision to create a hub for Cornish sport, health and wellbeing, education, and business.

“We had thought it might be a close vote, but having such a large majority in favour is a huge positive signal. The vote indicates this is something Cornwall wants and now the partners will move forward to deliver the project subject to the envisaged central government funding being forthcoming.

“We would like to thank councillors for the faith they have shown in the partnership and to take this opportunity to thank all of those from across Cornwall who have come together and supported the Stadium for Cornwall project.

“The partners would like to acknowledge the support of Cornwall Council officers, particularly Nigel Blackler, for their work in assisting the partnership in getting this positive vote at the Full Council today.

“In many ways, the hard work in delivering the stadium starts now and we cannot wait to deliver a stadium that Cornwall can be proud of.”

West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas added: "This is great news; having the council back this project will create the confidence needed and help to deliver the stadium that so many people have worked so hard for, for so many years.

"This decision will also make it much easier for me and my colleagues in Westminster to make the case for Government funding to make up the shortfall.

"It is my belief that the stadium will provide a significant boost for Cornish sport and our economy as well as providing the venue for large gatherings that other counties take for granted."

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