Stadium for Cornwall – Blunder or Wonder?

Last night Cornwall Councillors were invited to a briefing on the proposed plans for a Stadium for Cornwall. This whole project has raised a few eyebrows from the public and Cornwall Councillors. I have raised the point numerous times as to who will pay for it. One thing is for sure is that the tax payer should not be the main financier for this project. To put it simply, we as a Council could not afford to build and maintain this stadium.

To date Cornwall Council has not spent any of its money on this project, apart from officer time that has been spent getting this project up to this position. The £78,000 for the feasibility study has come from an external grant called the Local Authority Business Growth Incentives. Now for this project to move this forward it will now require the Cabinet to authorise the expenditure of roughly £120,000. This money will be spent on the planning and development work. My problem so far is this decision should be made by the full Council, and not just Cabinet.

For me personally I was impressed with the plans. These plans gave various options and phases that could be implemented depending on the amount of money available. The all singing and dancing stadium will cost around £25m, down to the basic model coming in at £14m. If you want to include the hotel, all weather pitch and leisure centre to the all singing and dancing option, then add another £20m to the costs. The seating capacity could range from 10,000 to 15,000. I was told that the yearly running costs would be around £800,000.

Again, the main sticking point will be who will fund this project. I think it is highly unlikely that a kind benefactor will write a cheque for the full amount. So how else can this be funded?

• Cornwall Council – Highly unlikely both politically and financially

• Section 106 contributions – I think this is the area that funding would be sort from. One of the reasons is the stadium is included in a master plan of an extra 1400 houses and the possibility of a supermarket. As part of the planning permission they would be required to pay a substantial amount of money. This in turn could be used to part-fund, or fully-fund the project.

• Anchor Tenants – Likely to be the Cornish Pirates. They could pay a large part of the build costs and would be the main draw to help make the stadium financially viable.

• Central Government – No, they are fixated on the Olympics and any sport funding will be thrown into the Olympic pot.

Will there be any community benefit? I think the simple answer is yes because of the simple fact that Cornwall does not have a stadium of this nature. The fact of having a stadium will allow schools and other organisations to hold events. This point could inspire children and adults to do better at sports, or take up sports. I know from my own sporting experience of competing for the Royal Navy and Combined Services in Fencing at large arenas this can inspire you to do better, as there is nothing better than hearing a crowd cheer you on. This stadium could give people that chance that may not happen because we don’t have the facilities in Cornwall.

As I have said before, my main concern is who will pay for it, and will it be financially variable? If these concerns are overcome, then I personally would like to see this stadium built. I will say though, if this stadium is nothing more than a legacy, or ego trip, then it will run into a brick wall of opposition.

Here are a few swanky pictures of the proposed site click HERE to Cornwall Council’s website

3 comments

  • Anonymous

    When will CC realise that they need to do more than grand eye catching projects? Whilst they are doing this, solar farms ect they will be closing toilets, cutting supporting people grant, destroying the cctv network etc. This is CV building for Lavery and his mates. Of course the Cabinet will agree they are in total awe of him.

  • Anonymous

    I think the stadium is a great idea but this is the wrong economic climate and the wrong place to be promoting 1500 homes as part of the scheme. To coin a phrase 'Fourmilestone'. There are currently far more important objectives the council should be promoting, health, keeping existing public services going, affordable housing etc. I also doubt that the stadium could be delivered for 25 million pounds or even 40 million. Look at the history of stadiums going over budget, too much risk for a council with a relatively small population. We also need to consider what is currently happening to Plymouth AFC, yet more risk. Why not start small, get the pitch and a small clubhouse and stand first then let the facility grow sustainably and most importantly at the cost of whoever will play in it.

  • Simon

    I support this project, Cornwall desperately needs the facilities other counties take for granted. It will create jobs sand bring focus and investment into the County. The project should attract strong private investment for those who believe in the business case. Pirate's ticket sales alone per game (before share) should generate £200-220K in a 10K seater stadium at current prices, with the opportunity to also have local businesses buy corporate hospitality tickets which will add to this significantly. This is before any parking or catering revenues. A hotel would be paid for by the hotel group investing – Holiday Inn Express have sucessfully made this work at other grounds in the UK. Finally, lets not forget other ticket revenues could be gleaned from hosting other sporting events through the year, so revenue is not just limited to Rugby. Let's run the business case and decide based on the outcome beofre we shout it down. Personally, this is a no brainer, it will bring income to the County and put Cornwall on the sporting map.

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