Pressure mounts on the Cabinet to provide funding for a stadium
By West Briton | Thursday, May 24, 2012, 07:15
PRESSURE is mounting on Cornwall Council's Cabinet to provide funding for a multimillion-pound stadium in what would be a highly controversial move.
The West Briton understands a majority of the Cabinet is in favour, and could give the nod to invest £10 million in the £24 million scheme.
The full council voted against proceeding with funding the stadium but the nine-member Cabinet can ignore this vote when making the final decision.
Sporting celebrities including former England captain Phil Vickery have joined campaign groups and project partner Truro and Penwith College to push for the funding to be approved.
The council had always insisted public money would not be used for the project, but on May 10 news broke that the consortium behind the scheme – developer Inox, the Cornish Pirates and Truro and Penwith College – said it could not secure enough private-sector funding to carry it forward.
The Stadium for Cornwall campaign group said this week it had "always sought to get co-operation between the council and the private sector to deliver the best they can for Cornwall".
Truro resident Lance Dyer wrote to every councillor: "I urge you to rethink your views and realise the benefits a stadium would provide for Cornwall and do all you can to urge the Cabinet to look at the question in detail, consider all options including ... funding and do all you can to push for a decent facility in this the year of the London Olympics."
Truro and Penwith College has agreed to put £2 million into the scheme and would relocate its business centre to the stadium. A spokesman for the college said: "It's too good an idea for us to simply give up, and if we can continue to work in partnership towards making it a reality we shall do so.
"It remains our view that a great amount of Cornish potential would be unleashed by this project and that this stadium is something Cornwall both needs and deserves.
We shall continue to make the case for it."
The story has hit the national headlines and Mr Vickery, himself a Cornishman, told the Daily Telegraph: "It just seems so short-sighted for the council to veto any financial support. Cornwall has always needed a stadium to serve the county, not just now, although the need now is greater than ever."
At the full council meeting on May 15 in which members voted against considering funding, Councillor Bob Egerton warned that a Cabinet decision to grant funding against the wishes of councillors would be "political suicide".
Cornwall Council granted outline planning permission for the 10,000-capacity stadium on a site at Langarth, next to Truro's park and ride car park, and also for a separate but parallel application, also from Inox, for 1,500 homes, a hotel, a care home, a school and retail space.
The agenda for the meeting on June 20 has not yet been set but this would be the earliest opportunity for the Cabinet to discuss the matter.
See the full statements from the college and campaign group and letter from Mr Dyer on this page and Letters on page 44.