Wednesday, 29 February 2012

What's going on with the stadium? - UPDATED

Sorry to come back to the issue of the stadium again, but it seems that even the fourth floor bunker at County Hall don't know what is going on.

Today's Laurence Reed show on Radio Cornwall carried an interview with Kevin Heaney, owner of Truro City FC, where he stated that the club were fully prepared to play their part in the stadium project and were ready to sell their Treyew Road ground to a developer to help finance the it. Yet Cornwall Council insists that TCFC is no longer a partner in the enterprise.

At the same time, Cornwall Council is claiming that the developers INOX will be putting a large amount of money into the project - but INOX's boss told Laurence six months ago that they wouldn't.

And then, of course, there is the claim made by Scott Mann that the Tory group twice voted against any council funding for the project but that there is a secret plan to provide up to £16 million of finance.

I've said from the start that if a private company (or group of companies) want to build a stadium then, subject to the usual planning permissions, I'd be all for it. But I don't believe that there should be any public money involved, although I know that others think differently.

Surely the best way forward is to have an open and honest debate of all 123 councillors with no secret documents and no clever wordplay. If the majority believe that there should be some form of public funding then I would go along with this. If not, Cornwall Council should just back away and let the clubs and private businesses get on with it. It would probably end a lot of the confusion.

As a first step though, Cornwall Council needs to come clean about all plans, ideas and proposals for using public money and publish all documents relating to its involvement - whether it be direct funding, guaranteeing loans or financing peripheral aspects of the stadium project such as roads and infrastructure. Someone in the County Hall bunker seems to have an agenda and it is only right and proper that it should be brought out into the open.

UPDATE - Rob Saltmarsh, the MD of the Inox Group, has responded to Bob Egerton's email. You can read it in full on Graham Smith's blog here. I'm happy that Mr Saltmarsh has shown a willingness to engage and have sent him the following:

Dear Mr Saltmarsh
Thank you for your email which answers some of the questions posed. The key issue remains... if Inox has been consistent about not investing its own money in the stadium (and I am happy to accept your word that you have), why on earth should Cornwall Council have stated that you would be investing alongside the College and Pirates?
Would you be happy to waive all confidentiality and agree to Cornwall Council publishing all details of their conversations with you so that we, and the public, can understand what on earth is going on?

I look forward to hearing from you

Alex Folkes

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