Pirates making Stadium for Cornwall contingency plans

English Championship rugby union club Cornish Pirates has broached the subject of an alternative Stadium for Cornwall plan, with the long-running project again suffering frustration in its efforts to secure funding from central government.

The second-tier club had hoped that it would be included in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s budget announcement earlier this week, but while the government pledged £30m (€36m/$41m) to support bids to host the 2025 Women’s Rugby World Cup and the 2026 Tour de France Grand Départ, no financial support was forthcoming for the Stadium for Cornwall.

A statement read: “The Stadium for Cornwall team is disappointed not to be singled out for an immediate capital grant of £14m to start to build the much sought after Stadium and its world-class sports concussion unit.  

“However, we continue to work with Government on delivering their ‘Levelling Up’ agenda, and anticipate a later funding package allowing swift development as part of the £2.6bn announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund over the life of this Spending Review.”

Stadium for Cornwall chairman Martin Tucker added: “I would like to thank everyone across Cornwall and beyond who has worked tirelessly over many years to reach this point. We have an innovative new project and an energetic new team with the exact qualities sought by the Chancellor. 

“We are in constant communication with the Government and are excited at the prospect of getting this over the line in the near future. 

“Work will begin immediately to bring Truro City Football Club back to Truro, alongside continuing discussions to secure the final tranche of funding with will allow us to host international sporting events in Cornwall alongside the consistent delivery of education, employment and health services to the people of Cornwall.”

In December 2019, the Pirates appeared to move a step closer to building its new stadium after it completed the transfer of land for the development. However, the project, which was first approved in July 2015, has stalled since then.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Pirates chairman Paul Durkin said there could be a different plan to build a smaller 6,000-capacity stadium, should the project team be unsuccessful in securing the £14m needed to add to the £11m already raised for the 10,000-capacity stadium planned for Truro.

“There is funding there to put a smaller stadium up with temporary stands and things like that which would hold 6,000,” Durkin said. “But that will not survive long term, that doesn’t work, but it’s something that we could build on providing we were able to get confirmation that further funding was available.”

Image: Stadium for Cornwall