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I am delighted to be back in Cornwall for the second time in a month after an enforced exile through Covid. I watched the Pirates beating Hartpury in a brilliant rugby performance at home two weeks ago and will be in Jersey for our final match of the season tomorrow (Saturday 29th May).
I have also been working behind the scenes to pick up the pace on the development of the Stadium for Cornwall alongside the other Stadium partners. In early 2020 we were working with Cornwall Council and with central Government on the final conditions needed to get this project over the line, then Covid intervened and naturally everyone’s focus was on saving lives and protecting the NHS.
We are now coming out of Covid, but the delay has caused some serious problems. Hardest hit have been our football players at Truro City FC. We are determined that the very first thing on our agenda is getting Truro back to Truro, come what may. The plan is to develop the stadium pitch as soon as feasible, albeit with temporary stands and associated facilities.
We also have to accept that we will have to live with the current planning permission which we wanted to vary slightly to make the pitch easier to build, requiring far less expensive and energy consumptive groundwork and retaining wall construction. A shift in the location by only a few metres would have saved considerable money and greenhouse gas emissions. However a new planning application would take at least a year and would not give us the pitch we need for Truro City FC within a reasonable time, leaving them playing not just out of Truro, but out of Cornwall for years.
However, the Covid delay has allowed us to evolve the project to far better benefit the people of Cornwall by adding in new sports injury rehabilitation services that will be accessible to the public. This will allow Cornish players, riders, runners, swimmers, surfers, and others, from children to veterans, amateur to elite, to better recover from a range of sports injuries. They will be able to access facilities and medical staff normally reserved only for professional players. There is much more being worked on behind the scenes and we need to ensure that all the stakeholders in the project: local people, Truro College students, sports clubs, Cornwall’s new Councillors, the business community and our funding partners are consulted on maximising the facilities of the stadium for the benefit of the public.
That shift in focus is important, and there is more to say on this when legal agreements have been finalised. I am determined that this Stadium is a facility for the people of Cornwall. Having a larger stadium will benefit the football and rugby clubs through increased capacity for fans on match days and allow promotion through the leagues, but this project can and should be bigger than that. We will provide sports rehabilitation to any tourists and second home residents that want and need our services, but we will design in usage conditions and cost benefits that better support our full-time local population.
Martin Tucker, Chairperson of the Stadium for Cornwall CIC and Principal of Truro and Penwith College releases press statement on the current stadium position.
The Chair of the Stadium for Cornwall Board of Directors continues to have constructive dialogue with Cornwall Council about how to realise the vision for a Stadium for Cornwall and progress the transfer of land to the Stadium for Cornwall Community Interest Company (S4C CIC), to allow ground works to commence as soon as possible.
The Stadium for Cornwall team asks for you to bear with us while we work behind the scenes to deliver the Stadium we all desire, starting with ground access, the football pitch and phasing developments as funds allow.