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