Stadium for Cornwall moves step closer with £3m of council funding

18 April 2018

A new stadium for Cornish Pirates rugby club is a significant step closer to being constructed after Cornwall council agreed to pay £3m towards the £14.3m project.

Another £3m still needs to be raised, with pressure being put on the government to honour a commitment made by David Cameron, when he was prime minister, to make up any shortfall.

Planning permission has already been granted for the 6,000-capacity, multi-sport Stadium for Cornwall complex in Threemilestone near Truro, which will be used by Cornish Pirates, Truro City FC and Truro and Penwith college. The site will house a health club and have conference facilities. The aim is to have it built before the start of the 2019-20 rugby and football seasons.

Tuesday’s vote on funding was not overwhelming – 69-41 with eight abstentions – reflecting an issue that has divided opinion in the county. Those who opposed the plan questioned not only the significant investment of public money but whether the stadium would prove a drain on resources. “I am relieved and elated,” said Paul Durkin, the chairman of Cornish Pirates. “It has been a long haul but we got our message across that this was a stadium for Cornwall, not just the partners. Councillors have voted to make life better for the next generation and give them opportunities some people have not had so far.”

The council was approached at the start of the year after the partners found themselves £6m short of the money needed to finance the stadium. A local MP, Derek Thomas, is meeting government officials on Wednesday to persuade them to honour Cameron’s promise. “We met with secretaries of state and ministers after David Cameron’s commitment, but we did not have a firm proposal then,” said Thomas. “We do now and I have been doing a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between MPs and various groups in relation to this. The council’s decision makes it much easier for us to make the case for government funding to make up the shortfall.”

Bristol’s plan to rebrand the club to mark their return to the Premiership, meanwhile, led to them being them mocked on social media. As part of a bid to attract a global audience the team will be known as Bristol Bears. But fans who clicked on the Bristol Bears website after hearing the news were directed to a page run by a gay club in the city, the Bristol Bear, based in Old Market.

“It’s hilarious,” said one member. “I have been checking out the rugby website and I am sure the players will be welcomed in Old Market.” Bristol said they were aware of the Bristol Bear club before the rebranding and anticipated a happy co-existence.