The partners involved with the proposed Stadium for Cornwall development presented their case for public funds to the Cornwall Council cabinet yesterday (Feb 5).
And following the meeting, they issued the following statement, setting out everything you might need to know about the project.
Why does Cornwall need Sportva Kernow?
Cornwall is one of the few counties in England without a modern stadium capable of profitably and permanently hosting professional rugby and football teams and one that can cater to international entertainment acts.
Sportva Kernow, with its state-of-the-art, all-weather and floodlit pitch, its 6000 capacity (extending to 15,000 over the long term) and the associated conference and hospitality facilities will meet that need. It will include a 5,000 sq ft Conference Centre that will seat up to 500 people, 14 hospitality boxes, two bars, four kitchens, (including training kitchens for Truro & Penwith College catering students), business and event function rooms, offices, and educational facilities.
Meanwhile, the Cornish Pirates RFC and Truro City FC need the new stadium quickly if they are to progress further in rugby and football in England. Neither club can sustain the expenditure involved in running a professional team using their current facilities. Indeed, in the second phase of development, Sportva Kernow will be large enough should the Cornish Pirates be in a position to make a bid for inclusion in Premiership Rugby.
Sportva Kernow will become a sporting, educational, and cultural hub for Cornwall.
How much is the project going to cost and how will it be funded?
The total cost for the first phase of the project – creating the 6000-capacity stadium, the all-weather pitch and the conference and educational facilities has been estimated at £14 million. The Cornish Pirates, Truro & Penwith College and Truro City FC have committed to providing a total of £8 million, leaving a shortfall of £6 million.
Who will own and run the stadium?
In return for securing the funding, driving further development, and ensuring its financial sustainability, the Cornish Pirates RFC will take ownership of the stadium, while Truro & Penwith College and Truro City FC will each be granted a 125-year lease on a peppercorn rent. The stadium will be operated by a newly formed Stadium Company STADCO).
Isn’t that more than the original figure of £10 million?
The first phase of the project was costed at £10 million in 2012. The increase, verified by independent experts, is simply the result of delays in building the stadium and it is why the stadium’s partners want to move quickly on the project.
Why do you need public money?
The original agreement to raise £10 million included at least £4 million of funding derived from a retail development located at West Langarth near Truro. However, this development is no longer proceeding as the alternative retail site at Truro City FC’s Treyew Road stadium has taken precedence and that is why the partners are now looking for public support.
Will the stadium be profitable?
Sportva Kernow’s partners are committed to ensuring the stadium can sustain itself for the benefit of Cornwall for the long term. The stadium will become the home turf for the Cornish Pirates and Truro City FC, while representatives from numerous other sporting codes have expressed an interest in hosting games at the stadium.
Truro & Penwith College has committed to using the facility for its catering, hospitality, and business schools. The function and event centre will be the largest in the county and within easy reach of a population of more than one million during the peak tourist season. The Cornish Pirates have also formed a long-term relationship with ‘the Waikato Chiefs’, a very successful Super 15 rugby franchise in New Zealand. The design of the stadium has been modelled on the Chiefs’ success in making their home ground – the FMG Stadium – a multiuse facility.
The partners are therefore confident that Sportva Kernow will be in continuous use and indeed become a sporting, educational and cultural hub for Cornwall. Other businesses which have been set up along similar lines, such as the Exeter Chiefs’ have also proven the case. Devon & Cornwall Business Council (DCBC) have researched the economic benefits arising and with the benefit of other specialist assessment it was adjudged that the activities (excluding construction etc.) of Exeter Chiefs was an injection of £10-12 million per annum into the Local Economy.
Applying these figures to the Cornwall project but taking account of the different market profile and different levels of competition, it is the opinion of DCBC that the proposed investment would secure between £8-10 million of enhancement to the Cornwall GDP. Finally, the Cornish Pirates are prepared underwrite the STADCO business plan with up to £300k a year for the first 10 years to maintain Sportva Kernow as a first-class sporting and entertainment facility.
Why can’t the private sector pay for the stadium?
The private sector is leading the development. Over £300k has already been invested in the stadium project for the preliminary work including the development of the concept and business plans. The private sector partners, including the Cornish Pirates, Truro & Penwith College and Truro City FC are investing £8 million into phase 1 of the project. The scheme has always required extra funding which was originally coming through a retail development as part of the council’s approved plans, but this is no longer a viable option.
Why spend money on a stadium when it could be spent on schools and hospitals?
Sportva Kernow is a long-term investment in Cornwall. It will drive employment and growth in the local economy, creating a larger pool from which funding for essential services can be raised. The stadium also offers enormous community benefits.
Sportva Kernow’s partners envisage, for example, building links with the nearby Royal Cornwall Hospital to improve community fitness and wellbeing. Already the Cornish Pirates are working with the NHS Foundation to improve teenage and young adult mental health. The Pirates also operate a very successful community programme for thousands of school children across Cornwall aimed at improving health nutrition and social inclusion. In the 2016-17 academic year alone, more than 2,500 children took part in the programme, which engaged with rugby clubs, primary and secondary schools, colleges, and charities. Truro City FC and Truro & Penwith College have similarly strong community outreach programmes that they hope to develop further using the new stadium.
Why is the stadium being built in Truro?
Sportva Kernow’s location at Threemilestone just outside of Truro followed a major study by independent experts Gardner & Theobald, which assessed 27 sites across Cornwall. The study concluded the Threemilestone and Truro area was the most feasible location for a stadium primarily based for the following reasons:
- The presence of the Cornish Pirates RFC as an anchor tenant is extremely important for the viability, profile, and sustainability of the project
- The benefit of the potential to have a second anchor tenant (Truro City FC), which is not possible beyond this conurbation
- The greater commercial appeal of Truro to the private sector and the resulting potential for enabling development and the opportunities to deliver nonmatch day usage
- The opportunities created by the existence of the Truro West Park & Ride scheme in the City, and potential for a further Truro East Park & Ride, with potential to deliver a sustainable transport solution on match-days; and,
- The strong opportunities to deliver synergies with nearby hospital and college sites through health and educational programmes.
The site is meanwhile at the Crossroads of Cornwall. A population of well over 200,000 permanent residents is within 30 minutes of the stadium. Sportva Kernow’s catchment will extend to towns and cities as far flung as Launceston, Penzance, and Plymouth in Devon. The site offers superb transport from the A30, two park and ride facilities within easy reach and the location is well linked to public transport including buses, trains, and Newquay airport.
Will the development lead to traffic congestion?
No. The development of the stadium and the associated transport improvements will improve traffic flows in the Threemilestone area thanks to a new northern access road that will run parallel to the A390 along to the north end of the stadium from west Langarth towards the hospital in the east. Access will be created direct from the adjacent Park and Ride into the Stadium grounds. Meanwhile, games and major entertainment events, which will draw the largest crowds, will be held at the weekend or late evenings, when traffic on the major surrounding roads is at a low ebb.