Thursday, 19 March 2015

Stadium for Cornwall

The decision last week by Cornwall Council planners to defer a decision on a supermarket and housing development has been a blow to hopes for a Stadium for Cornwall but we need to revise the approach and try to get the concept back on track.

I have always been passionate about the role sport can play in both bringing communities together and creating and providing an interest for young people.  Athletics was my passion and I ran for the Cornwall cross country team for many years and my family help sponsor Camborne Rugby Club today.

The support the idea of Stadium for Cornwall but from the start the project has been vulnerable because, to be financially viable, it depended on being part of a wider property deal with a supermarket and loads of housing needed to help raise cash.  The only reason Truro was suggested as a location was because they thought they could get higher property prices.

Truro is famous for lots of things like accountants and solicitors, but not for sport.  It's not the right place for a major sporting venue.  The traffic is horrendous.  I think we should revise plans for the stadium in a number of ways.  First, build it where the population is, where there is a sporting tradition and where we have good road networks.  That means Camborne or Redruth and Camborne is already home to the best rugby ground in Cornwall.  Secondly, it would be better to have something a little smaller that was viable in its own right rather than have a giant project always in financial trouble.  Finally, I think it would be better to broaden the project so it wasn't just a stadium where people watched, but was also a sporting centre where young people had access to great facilities to develop their talents in a range of sports.