Monday, 31 January 2011

Stadium confusion

Today Radio Cornwall was abuzz with news on the proposed White Elephant for Cornwall (otherwise known as a Stadium for Cornwall).

The radio claimed that some sort of deal had been done but that this would be without Cornwall Council money. If so, that is good news. I have no problem with the idea of the Cornish Pirates - or any other private sector organisation or individual - building a stadium if they want. But such a project should not be subsidised by the taxpayers of Cornwall. We have already put around £80,000 into the scheme by funding a feasibility study and I have argued that this should be the end of it. Indeed, at the emergency budget in December, councillors decided to take money for the stadium out of the capital programme.

And so I asked the Leader about the issue at today's Cabinet meeting. His answer was that no deal had been done and that the Cabinet would be discussing a paper on the issue in due course.

I'm confused about why - if no council money is to be involved - this will be coming to Cabinet at all. Surely the only council involvement should be to adjudicate on a planning application if and when one is submitted.

We will have to wait and see...

UPDATE - According to the BBC Cornwall website, the Pirates would move in for a ten year tenancy and would secure the money for building. That implies that someone would have to pick up the costs of running the facility after that period. I suspect that is where the Council would have to come in.


Tommo said...

This stadium is certainly not a white elephant and I would suggest that you post your normal negative PR when full facts are in place.

Alex Folkes said...

Thanks for the comment. I think that a council funded stadium would be a white elephant because it would not be commercially viable. After all, if it were viable, council taxpayers' money would not be needed.
Around the world, public funded stadia have a history of being millstones around the necks of local taxpayers. You only have to look at Montreal's olympic stadium or any of the hundreds in the US where the team went bust or moved away and the stadium sits there empty and losing money.
I genuinely wish the Pirates every success and hope that they bring Premiership rugby to Cornwall. But I don't see it as the Council's job to fund their ability to do so.

Tommo said...

Alex, you are misleading the general public. For starters no money from council tax or business rates are being used in this project, "Or indeed central gov funding'. The project you will find is being funded by other revenue streams which I am sure you will be briefed on in due course.

You may also want to take a look at Doncsaters football stadium. Funded by their council. Having spoken to someone involved with their authority for every £1 they have spent they have received at least £7 back.

I respect your views Alex, but sadly I believe that your type of views will only hold this wonderful county back further.

That said you are welcome at the Mennaye any time.

Duncan said...

If we do not invest in infastructure for the county how can we expect young professionals to stay here and earn a living. The new University in Penryn proves that this county can support new projects. The county has an unbelievable oppotunity to gain a fantastic facility without having to fund it, any corporation in the world love this sort of offer. As for killing the local game, is it thriving at the moment? all the young prospects are being lost to Exeter. Would the local clubs not benefit from loan players etc like all the clubs up country. Surely top class rugby will just bring more rugby fans!
I'm 33 and the majority of my friends have had to move away from Cornwall to establish careers. Whenever there is an opportunity to "add" to Cornish infastructure it should be grabbed with both hands. Cornwall attracks thousands of visitors in the summer which bring in much needed revenue, here is an opportunity to bring in thousands of visitors during the off the season. A dream for buisness as it lessens the Seasonal factor.
This is a real "no brainer". Lets get Cornwall moving, a University and Stadium i don't think we're asking too much?!

Alex Folkes said...

Well £80k of public money has already gone into the stadium from Cornwall Council coffers. If someone wants to take the project forward with no more taxpayers money then I wish them good luck. I look forward to seeing the details in due course.

Tommo said...

I hope that when garnished with the full facts may you change your mind Alex.

Duncan below is quite right of course. it's time our youngsters were given equal facilities to the rest of the country.

Good luck Dicky, thousands are behind you!!

Duncan said...

I think you are missing the point here, the council must spend millions premoting the county each year as a "tourist desination". Even if it did cost the council money (which I hear it won't) surely it's double wammy, the county gets more publicity and brings in people and they have something to show for it? Preiership taveling fans would be vast numbers, all sorts of business would benefit from this. The local economy isn't going to grow without some help, or investment. I think comparing it to an Olympic Stadium is very misleading as they are built specifically for a few weeks use then they need to find tennents or sort out a change of use. this has long term plan, and from what I can see has been thoroughly thought out.

Kernow said...

From Alex: "Today Radio Cornwall was abuzz with news on the proposed White Elephant for Cornwall (otherwise known as a Stadium for Cornwall)."

Alex, you obviously listened to that particular phone-in yet you insist on referring to the Stadium for Cornwall as a 'White Elephant'.

To refresh your selective memory, here is the head of Economic Development at Cornwall Council, Sandra Rothwell answering Reed's questions:

Reed: So Cornwall taxpayer, the ratepayer, wouldn't be funding this at all. I mean that's what we were told back in December....

S.R: Exactly.

Reed: Has that stance changed?

S.R: No. That stance hasn't changed...

R: So the taxpayer is never going to be expected to fund this?

S.R: No. And that's something we've been very clear about all the way through with this, and that's why the feasibility work has been so important. As a council, obviously, we have got to go through due process with this, and clearly we haven't yet agreed a formal position on this, and clearly over the course of the coming months planning is obviously going to be a major issue about location and what any stadium will look like."

The only White Elephant in Cornwall were the Lib Dems. There, how does that grab 'ee my 'ansome? LOL.