The four key players behind plans to build a Stadium for Cornwall today publicly signed a joint agreement aimed at turning Cornwall’s long-held ambition for its own flagship stadium into reality.
The Cornish Pirates, Truro and Penwith College, Inox Group and Henry Boot Developments signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to deliver a stadium at Langarth on the western side of Truro at no cost to the taxpayer.
Truro and Penwith College also reaffirmed its £2 million investment in the project, saying the Stadium would play a key role in the College’s future development by housing its business centre and hospitality and catering teaching facilities as part of its growing provision in these areas.
The agreement signed today during an event in Truro sets out how the stadium would be funded and operated.
Funding for its construction would come from a proposed mixed-use development – West Langarth near Threemilestone – which includes a supermarket and for which planning permission is currently being sought from Cornwall Council by Inox Group and Henry Boot Developments.
Proceeds from this development would be ring fenced for the stadium’s construction via an insurance-backed bond provided by Inox and Henry Boot Developments.
This would guarantee, via a Section 106 legally binding planning agreement with Cornwall Council, delivery of a 6,000 capacity stadium, the cost of which would be approximately £10 million. This could be extended to 10,000 capacity later. It would include:
- Fixed seating for 4,200 people
- Temporary stand for 1,000 people (with standing room adding up to ca. 6,000 capacity)
- Truro and Penwith College Business Centre and elite sports facilities
- Truro and Penwith College training kitchen and restaurant, open to the public
- Fully equipped 200-person conference centre and function facility
The stadium would be owned by a Community Trust which would ensure it was properly maintained and open for community use.
The Trust would lease the facilities to both The Cornish Pirates and Truro and Penwith College with both tenants paying a service charge to the Trust in lieu of rent. This would pay for the annual upkeep of the stadium.
The tenants forecast that the stadium would cost between £1.2 million and £1.3 million a year to run, with initial income forecast at between £1.4 million and £1.5 million.
Being based in Truro would boost match day attendance and revenue from advertising and sponsorship, with additional revenue coming from events, conferencing and hospitality.
Cornwall Council has estimated that the annual economic impact of the stadium on the local economy would be around £3 million, with at least £800k per year being spent in the city centre by fans. This estimate is based on conservative attendance figures.
And the West Langarth mixed-use development that would fund the Stadium’s construction is projected to create around 290 permanent jobs, injecting £4.3 million annually into the local economy.
Rob Saltmarsh, managing director of Inox Group, which already has detailed planning permission for the Stadium, said: “This agreement commits all partners to work towards the delivery of a Stadium for Cornwall at no cost to the taxpayer and sets out a roadmap for its delivery and operation.
“It still depends on our West Langarth project being approved, but we hope the enormous community benefit the stadium will deliver for Truro and Cornwall will be a deciding factor when it comes before Cornwall Council’s planners.”
Ian Connell, chairman of the Cornish Pirates, said: “This will be a genuine community stadium that will transform sport in Cornwall and inspire people of all ages.
“For the Pirates it would create a facility fit to host Premiership rugby and be a base for a raft of our community-focused activities with schools and clubs, while being a focus for other business and social events year-round.”
Martin Tucker, director at Penwith College, added: “We are tremendously excited by what the stadium would offer. It would be a permanent home for our business centre supporting businesses and apprenticeships across Cornwall.
“We would build a new training kitchen and restaurant that would be open to the public, and base our Steins Academy there. It would also offer a top quality conference and business meeting venue, and we would deliver a range of sports-related and coaching and leadership qualifications.”
Further stands would be added depending on capacity demand and gate receipts, similar to the model used by Sandy Park at Exeter. The Cornish Pirates say they do not require a 10,000 capacity facility from day one.