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New town on edge of Truro is still 'in limbo'

New town on edge of Truro is still 'in limbo'

Published by Emma Carton at 9:05am 7th March 2020.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Richard Whitehouse, and Sarah Yeoman

Cornwall Council says it has still been unable to secure a deal for land which will be used for the first stages of a new town and the Stadium for Cornwall.

Bob Egerton, Cabinet member for planning, said that he was “frustrated” by the continued delays in getting a deal for the land and “embarrassed” by how much the council has had to spend.

Cornwall Council is looking to secure land from developers Inox which would be used for the first stages of the Langarth Garden Village - a development of 2,700 homes and facilities on the outskirts of Truro.

The land also includes the proposed site for the Stadium for Cornwall which, once secured, would be handed over to the partners of the stadium project.

The Stadium would be a home for the Cornish Pirates rugby side, Truro City football club as well as providing hospitality and conference facilities which would be used by Truro and Penwith College. The stadium would also be used by other sports teams and groups.

But developers Inox, who have been accused of holding up the sale of land, say it would be “wrong to seek to blame one party” and insist they are committed to providing the stadium land to Cornwall Council.

West Langarth  stadium for cornwall
A new town on the outskirts of Truro and a Stadium for Cornwall are still 'in limbo' over land. Photo: Cornwall Council

Cllr Egerton had previously told councillors that the deal was in “touching distance” and the Cornish Pirates last year issued a statement claiming that the land deal had been done.

But on Tuesday at a meeting of full council, Cllr Egerton revealed the many delays which had been caused by Inox.

He explained that last year Inox had said it was willing to sell the land to the council and "they pressured us saying we needed to do it quickly" and claimed that others were waiting in the wings.

Cllr Egerton said that the council was ready to “send a cheque” at the end of November and then found that Inox was unable to exchange contracts.

He said that he was then told that it would happen by Christmas, but that failed to happen.

Cllr Egerton claimed that Inox was involved in a "web of companies" which had interests in the land and had tied itself up in knots over the issue.

He said that an exchange of contracts had been arranged for February 7th, but after a meeting with Inox chief executive Rob Saltmarsh the date came and went.

Cllr Egerton said the council was "promised" it would happen on February 18th but that "came and went" followed by a new date of Tuesday, which failed.

He said that it was no criticism of the council's officers who had been working "24/7" on the issue.

Langarth
Cornwall Council says it is still battling to secure a deal with company, Inox, to buy the land. Photo: Cornwall Council

Rob Saltmarsh, managing director of Inox, has since issued a public statement. It reads:

“In response to recent public comments, I want to set out the facts of the stadium land transfer, so all are very clear moving forward.

“Inox remains unwavering in its support for the Stadium for Cornwall, a position I have held for over a decade, and Inox remains fully committed to provide the stadium land to Cornwall Council.

“In 2017, Cornwall Council approached Inox and requested my company’s support for its Garden Village ambitions at Langarth. This vision seeks to provide a comprehensive re-plan of the area and to accelerate delivery of key infrastructure including a new relief road, schools, park-and-ride, employment opportunities and residential housing, both open market and affordable, alongside a £47m supporting grant from central Government. The sale of land to Cornwall Council has subsequently been agreed and legal work is currently being concluded.

“The council and Inox had originally agreed to legally transfer the stadium land in isolation, to help facilitate the stadium coming forward as soon as possible. However, it became apparent, during detailed legal exchanges, that delivering the project in a robust manner, would require the supporting infrastructure land to be transferred as one comprehensive package. Transferring the stadium land on a piecemeal basis simply did not work and would only result in delays further down the line for the project.

“Inox and Cornwall Council officers, alongside their respective legal teams, continue to work diligently to bring this matter to a close as soon as physically possible. No one party is being obstructive and it is plainly wrong to seek to blame one party for the time it is taking to conclude this complex transaction. We will keep working hard until the matter is brought to a close.

“I am acutely aware of how important the stadium is to Cornwall and I remain of the opinion that this facility will be a game changer for Cornwall, both in terms of professional sport but also sport at grass roots level. The educational and catering involvement of Truro and Penwith College remains a very exciting aspect also.

“I recall making my Bristol RFC debut versus Exeter RFC as a 21-year-old, in the mid-1990s at the old County Ground in Exeter and ambitions for a move to a new ground were being muted then. It took the club some 15 years to see their stadium at Sandy Park become a reality, with some saying it would never happen. The positive impact the Exeter Chiefs and Sandy Park has had on the surrounding area has been nothing short of remarkable. I have no doubt that Dicky Evans and the stadium partners will make a success of this project and I would simply ask that faith and enthusiasm remains for a while longer.”

Inox statement

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