The prospects for a Stadium for Cornwall coming to fruition next year appear to have been dashed.
The Cornish Pirates rugby club had been hoping to move into a new 10,000 seater stadium during the 2012-13 season. However, Cornwall Council is extending the timetable to deliver the scheme, to allow for further detailed work to be carried out to assess the viability of the project and surrounding issues such as drainage and transport.
These delays mean it is extremely unlikely that the Pirates will be able to achieve stadium compliance criteria by the March 31 deadline, imposed by the Rugby Football Union.
And in a further complication, Truro City Football Club, which is looking to ground share with the Pirates, is not currently in a position to be able to commit to the project, amid its ongoing battles with the taxman.
In a statement, Pirates owner Dicky Evans said: “I am dismayed that factors outside our control mean that the agreed business plan cannot now be achieved, compounded by the news that the stadium will not be delivered for next season.
“Personally I am distraught and I feel extremely sad that so many good people who have put in so much effort have to handle this news.
“Without doubt this will greatly affect our plans and I will now take stock over the next week with the key club management staff and the playing force to review options for the future of the Cornish Pirates.”
The Council’s economy portfolio holder, Chris Ridgers, said: “The Stadium for Cornwall is a high profile project and we need to ensure that if the Council or its partners agree to the delivery of the Stadium that time has been taken to carefully consider all the associated risks and impacts, and that the business plan is viable and has been thoroughly scrutinised.”