Stadium – why does sport not matter?

Two days on, the debate is still raging on the ‘stadium vote’ around the internal emails of councillors.  N0-one has yet explained why this request for funding was chucked out by members without so much as a peek at a detailed case, or why so many Councillors were so set against even considering a £10 million investment when the Council has a capital programme of around a billion pounds that no-one has yet kicked up a fuss about?

To be more exact £900.999 million agreed in November 2011 – I think plus an additional £175 million agreed at the budget, partly funded by increased receipts. (Although I could be double counting that last £175 million. It’s still a lot.)

Labour has a record of investment and as a party, we believe that government has a positive role to play in supporting aspirations, improving communities, kick starting the economy and job creation.  Most of the time, it seems like Cornwall Councillors agree.

Cornwall Council recently gave £4 million to the Tate St Ives, which Cllr Chris Ridgers said was ‘totally different’ because the Tate had a track record of success. Hm. So do the Pirates. And the Tate has not been there forever – significant public funding went in to make it a success.

Eden, the Tate, Falmouth Harbour, Heartlands, I think even solar farms are getting between £10 and £14 million investment from Cornwall Council.

Yet, for some reason, just over half the Councillors present on Tuesday, chose not to even think about whether £10million on a stadium for Cornwall would be money well spent and chose not to even give a hearing to thousands of sports fans.

There were members at the meeting on Tuesday who wanted to know why the money could not be allocated to housing or schools or any other scheme of their choice.

There is an ambitious housing programme on the agenda, aimed at provided 48,000 homes over the next ten year, 10,000 of them discounted or for rent. Due to government cuts, the Council is also taking on schools maintenance – and has a capital programme in place.

One thing the money could not be used for is plugging gaps in service provision – capital funding and revenue are separate.  It would be like selling your house and living off the proceeds. Sooner or later, it would run out and leave you unable to carry on at all.

So in all that spending and investment, where does sports come?  There is a lot of banging on about community and all that, would be interesting to know what priority this is given when so many people in Cornwall feel passionately about it.

Somewhere on line is the Council’s business plan. perhaps that will enlighten me.

5 thoughts on “Stadium – why does sport not matter?

  1. Dear Jude,

    Thank you for writing this article, which highlights the short-sightedness of councilors in regard to the Stadium project. Cornwall has been here before — witness the failure of the proposed Cornwall University a few years ago.

    It is a long-standing disgrace that Cornwall has not one stadium fit to host top-flight football or rugby. We have a Hall for Cornwall which is hugely popular. Why not a Stadium for Cornwall as well? And failing to take advantage of Dicky Evans’ generous offer to fund the running costs of the stadium for 10 years looks very like looking a gift horse in the mouth to me.

    Rugby fans all over the UK and Ireland are hugely supportive of the stadium project. Many of them would love to come to Cornwall to see a top-flight game; they would turn it into a holiday and stay for a few days. The success of the new stadium at Exeter is proof of what can be achieved.

    I have put the following on the “Trelawny’s Army” website today:

    Thank you for voting for the stadium. Can you persuade a few of your colleagues who voted “No” to change their minds?

    With very best wishes,
    John Prowse
    Trelawny’s Army webmaster

    1. Thanks John.

      There do seem to be a lot of people in Cornwall inclined to say ‘It can’t be done here.’ I can remember people saying the Tate St Ives would never happen, the University would fail and Eden was a white elephant. It goes on and on.

      I know that councillors have doubts – some of them are about the site and the traffic access – that is fair enough. Any scheme that asks for public money has to show it is good value for the public and I am sure stadium campaigners are as keen as everyone else that their taxes are used wisely.

      I think it is a slap in the face for all the hard work you have all done when councillors decide not to even give this consideration.

      That is a real injustice and I hope the Cabinet will show more fairness in their decision. Whether public money goes in or not, the very least councillors should give the stadium is a fair hearing.

  2. Jude – an excellent article. I am not a natural Labour supporter, however you as an individual seem excellent and I thank you for your support.. There are some things that really matter to people, rugby has a very special place in Cornwall as it does in Wales and New Zealand.

    There are so many ideas that could be investigated to improve Cornwall and to encourage more businesses to move to Cornwall. A recession is on, businesses want to reduce their costs. Cornwall has excellent communication links and by relocating businesses down to Cornwall, operating costs would be lower (cheaper rents etc etc). This needs to be advertised!!!! I completely agree with you r.e. the sheer number of people, especially councillors and older people who state that “it can’t be done here”.

    The one stumbling block to my idea, which is related to this decision over the stadium (in a sense) is a lack of a proper University in Cornwall. That was decided against back in the 80’s and 90’s. The result of that decision? Those with talent, brains and so much potential go to University elsewhere, find jobs in other regions as they know there is little opportunity in Cornwall. Employers know that without a University, without a core to attract the brightest and the best they will not get the best possible workers.

    Keep up the good work!
    David Roberts (NZ).

    1. Hello David

      Thanks for your comment. You may not have been back to Cornwall for a while but we have now got a university with a campus at Tremough near Penryn. This was achieved largely because our Labour MP Candy Atherton (1997 – 2005) took up the campaign and lobbied government. It has been a fantastic success and now has a strong research arm, combining mining and engineering skills with new renewable energy technology courses.

      1. Hi Jude,

        I know about tremough, but that is just a campus . It needs a full university that attracts a wider range of students and is better known. Easier said than done of course!

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