17th March, 2011
Members of Cornwall Council’s Cabinet have overwhelmingly endorsed funding a full business plan for a new stadium for Cornwall. (Western Morning News, Thurs 17th March.)
It’s at this point I realise that my professional conscience feels completely at odds with my personal one. On one hand I admire the ambition of those championing the project; there is evidently widespread support for the stadium given that 12,000 signatures backing the plan have already been collected, and now the Council have committed £120,000 to working up a business plan. On the other hand I completely feel for those fighting to save their local, small sports and fitness facilities across all of Cornwall that may never be iconic or be flagged as Cornwall’s pride and joy, but nevertheless are supporting the grass roots sports and localism. Many have had their funding reduced or withdrawn and some may well feel the Council has a case of double standards to answer.
However, if there is indeed widespread support for the stadium and there are enough with the ambition to drive the project forward, then I would argue that it is right that a full feasibility study is conducted, the market is tested and – pending an honest analysis that demonstrates market feasibility – that a full and solid business plan is produced. And until they do that robust and independent research and analysis then not a penny more must be spent on developing the scheme. Let’s face it, that is exactly why cuts have been proposed to the budgets of local libraries, sports centres and various other public facilities because sufficient usage has not been evidenced to make them sustainable.