Tuesday, 1 June 2010

A stadium for Cornwall

The BBC is carrying news today that Cornwall Council is paying £78,000 to consultants assessing the viability for a stadium for Cornwall. Needless to say, that's a lot of money. I'd be interested to hear the views of people in Launceston about what they think that such a facility could do for us.

The current incarnation of the project would see a facility that could be used for football, rugby and for various indoor sports. It would also be able to host music and other events. Following concerns about it becoming a white elephant, the current plans would see capacity of about 4,500 for sporting events and up to 10,000 for music. Whilst I certainly don't think that we can justify building a 20,000 seater football or rugby stadium, we do need to consider whether these are the right numbers.

Whilst all political parties in Cornwall support the broad outline of the stadium plan, I believe that there are four concerns that need to be addressed:

- In the light of the Wembley pitch fiasco, we need to decide what such a stadium should be for. Could Truro City and the Pirates happily share a stadium without it being to the detriment of either. Is it realistic to expect large scale concerts to be held there and, if so, would they harm the sports teams?

- Would the venue see enough use to justify building it? A decent venue needs to be used to something approaching capacity on a regular basis. A ground share between the Pirates and Truro City would certainly meet the frequency criteria, but do either or both have the marketing plan to build crowds?

- What will the ultimate cost be to the Council? Should the people of Cornwall be putting up the money for this stadium and over what timescale will they be paid back? It's one thing giving some money to get a project off the ground, or even paying up front in the expectation of being paid back over time. But why should the Council subsidise the Pirates and/or Truro City and not Redruth or the All Blacks, Falmouth Town or Newquay Hornets?

- Finally, if this is a stadium for Cornwall, there must be some demonstration that there will be genuine benefit for the whole of Cornwall. Being the shape that we are, not everyone will benefit to the same extent, but this cannot be for Cornwall in name only.

I'd welcome the thoughts of readers.


Dale said...

It would be interesting to see if any such project would consider an artificial surface (which of course are now FA and RFU approved) that could (with maintenance) host both teams and other events without too much extra cost... That would be one way to keep long term cost down, and do you lease to the teams? A lot of questions need to be answered before any real investment, hence the (expensive) feasibility study!

Cornish said...

There are certainly a lot of if buts and maybes and I agree with all of your concerns. But difficulties aside it must be remembered that the whole point of the stadium for Cornwall is to make up for the fact that we are the only part of the UK that doesn't have a stadium.

Realistically no sports team in Cornwall is big enough to independently afford to build and run a stadium of the proposed size. Hopefully this will result in the stadium being shared fairly.

Personally I think that the ground should focus on rugby as the game attracts much bigger crowds than football......

Cornish said...

Sorry got carried awa y there and forgot to answer your question Alex. Are the numbers right? NO! Not by a long shot at least twice this season the Pirates have exceeded 4,500. Which shows that Cornwall can produce big crowds. Don't know turn outs for other teams but could imagine a Druth Lanson showdown pulling a bigger crowd than 4,500. We need to aim for at least 6,000 .