Pirates left dismayed by setback to new stadium
By Western Morning News | Wednesday, May 16, 2012, 08:00
The Cornish Pirates have reacted with dismay to further setbacks in plans for a Stadium for Cornwall.
Cornish Pirates chairman Dicky Evans spoke out against Cornwall Council last night picture: Phil Mingo/Pinnacle
Councillors at County Hall in Truro voted against a bid to build a new sports stadium in Cornwall with £10million of taxpayers' money yesterday.
The 10,000-seat stadium would host the Cornish Pirates and Truro City. However, Councillors voted 55 to 46 against. The Council's cabinet will make the final decision.
Head coach Ian Davies and his coaching staff led a contingent of 17 players, who all wished to attend the meeting.
Davies said: "It is disappointing but the dream is not dead, we just have to keep going forward.
"Sadly, we were expecting today's outcome because we were worried about some of the foresight of those making the decisions.
"We hoped they would see the bigger picture in terms of the economic situation within Cornwall and the chance to bring jobs and visitors to the region.
"To have a county this size with no stadium available makes it even more ridiculous, with it being the sporting hotbed that it is."
Davies warned that the club's star players and coaches could leave the region if there was no chance of promotion to the Aviva Premiership.
The Pirates' current home at Mennaye Field does not meet Premiership ground requirements. There is presently no stadium in Cornwall capable of hosting top-level rugby.
Davies also fears that the club's chairman and long-term benefactor, Dicky Evans, could eventually withdraw his support for the club if no way forward can be found.
Davies said: "If the stadium doesn't go ahead, the players and coaches will move away if we cannot progress further than Championship rugby.
"The players and the coaches are very ambitious, and if there is no chance of progression – and Dicky has decided he has had enough – we'll all have to move on.
"For Dicky Evans, more so, it is a bigger kick in the teeth for him because he has been working on it for so long."
Evans released a statement on the club's website last night expressing his disappointment at the Council verdict.
In previous statements, he had personally guaranteed to meet the running costs of a new stadium for ten years, and vowed to develop a team of coaches and players capable of reaching the Premiership.
He said: "What future for the youth of Cornwall to see top sport? With no development, Cornwall becomes an increasingly attractive retirement option for people from all over the UK, so we are now entering an era where Cornwall will become the largest old people's home in the world, 100 miles long from Saltash to Land's End.
"What's the cost of healthcare going to cost the taxpayers of Cornwall then, for crying out loud?
"Will the last person to leave Cornwall please put the lights out? Leave the people enjoying this moment of our depression in the dark, because they have no plans to improve Cornwall."