Pirates boss Evans vows to fund Stadium for Cornwall for first decade
Plans to provide an all-purpose flagship stadium for Cornwall have been given a shot in the arm after an influential businessman agreed to run the building for the first ten years.
Cornish Pirates owner Dicky Evans said he would personally underwrite the Stadium for Cornwall running costs in order to spare tax payers' money.
He said his own rugby team would be primary tenants, but ambitious Truro City FC have also been mooted to play at the venue, which has been earmarked for a site near Threemilestone on the outskirts of the Cornish city.
Supporters have now issued a rallying cry for the county to get behind the idea, which could be debated in council chambers as early as next month.
Rod Lyon, chairman of the Stadium for Cornwall Support Group, said: "What an achievement this would be if we could see a state-of-the-art stadium hosting top-flight sport and attracting thousands to cultural events and conferences. It may seem like a dream to some, but with a lot of hard work this could become a reality.
"It is at times of economic uncertainty that we need to show some Cornish spirit – some drive and imagination. Crucially we will need our councillors to show the same level of determination as Mr Evans in taking the scheme forward."
Mr Evans's proposal boosts the possibility of the stadium becoming a reality.
He said: "I want a stadium which will be just the place to be. I want it to have the 'wow factor'. I don't just want a tin shed. We are looking for 6,000 covered seats on the east and west sides, two thousand standing at either end with the ability to expand to 15,000, which can be done."
If Mr Evans can secure a deal to run the stadium with the Cornish Pirates as primary tenants, and other partners investing in the project, he said: "I will underwrite the running costs of the stadium so there is no cost to the taxpayer for ten years, whatever league we are in."
A spokesman for Cornwall Council said the Cornish Pirates would submit a proposal to manage the stadium later this month. If and when a business case is established, the council's cabinet will then formally decide whether to support the project.
Cabinet member Carolyn Rule said: "I am encouraged by the positive discussions that have taken place with our partners and their commitment to working with us to deliver a venue that will promote sporting excellence in Cornwall.
"If a stadium for Cornwall can become a reality then it can bring major benefits to the county in terms of sport, culture and the economy, but it must not be an ongoing cost for the council taxpayer."