Pirates' boss pulls plug on stadium costs
The future of a possible stadium for Cornwall was dealt a serious blow after its financial backer Cornish Pirates boss Dicky Evans, announced he was "stepping aside".
Mr Evans had previously vowed to guarantee the running costs of a new stadium for Cornwall for its first ten years.
The housing development for 1,500 homes associated with the proposed stadium seen as key to the project, at Langarth, near Truro, is set to go ahead but no financial backer to build the stadium has yet emerged.
A statement released by the Cornish Pirates yesterday confirmed Mr Evans is to step aside (not down) as the owner of the company.
The statement also said that his guarantee of funding the new stadium has been cancelled: "With no stadium on the horizon my agreement to fund the running of the stadium (that didn't exist) also fell away."
Mr Evans said that an agreement had been struck up with Cornwall Council for the Cornish Pirates to occupy the stadium by 2013-14.
But "delays and more delays" occurred and the agreement fell through in May 2012 when the council voted against assisting financially with the development.
He also went on to say that a team assembled to mount a promotion challenge to rugby's Premiership had now moved on after the stadium agreement fell through.
"Consequently at this moment in time there is nothing on the table from myself on financing the stadium for any period of time – once bitten twice shy," Mr Evans added.
"I now understand that 2015 is the likely start date for construction, so all things being equal we should have a stadium by 2017/18 almost ten years after I made my commitment.
Despite the setback, supporters of the scheme said they "remained confident" that it would go ahead.
Reacting to the announcement, the Stadium4Cornwall welcomed the shareholder agreement, launched by the Pirates and described as "the next major step" in the club securing its future.
In a post to its blogspot the group said: "Sensational press headlines misinterpret this statement. We remain confident."
Hopes had been high earlier in the week when the High Court threw out a legal challenge by Truro City Council for the neighbouring development , which will see 1,500 new homes, a new primary school and an extension to the city's park-and-ride site.