Stadium for Cornwall? Planning permission? It’s a funny old game

Posted By on 1st February 2022

By Graham Smith

Cornwall Council has been asked to explain the status of its planning consent for a “Stadium for Cornwall,” granted more than 10 years ago, and for a “reserved matters” application which was approved three years ago.

Under normal circumstances planning permission lapses after a period of time unless construction is underway.

Outline planning permission was granted on 12th January 2012.  The 24-page decision notice was signed by the then Head of Planning and Regeneration, Phil Mason.  Mr Mason is now the council’s Strategic Director for Economic Development.

The stadium was originally to have been an entirely private-sector initiative, funded from the proceeds of a supermarket development.  That supermarket idea was later abandoned.

Rumours are now swirling around County Hall that the council itself has paid for a digger to visit the proposed site, close to Langarth, to the west of Truro, to give the impression that “construction has commenced” and that therefore no new planning application is necessary.

One version claims that County Hall – having paid for the digger – is proposing to recoup the money from Section 106 levies yet to be realised from the Lidl supermarket development at Treyew Road, the former home of Truro City football club.  Truro City now plays home matches in Plymouth but still has hopes of returning to Cornwall, if a suitable ground can be found.

The original outline planning consent was for a 10,000-seat stadium to host both the football club and the Cornish Pirates rugby team.

Several council officials are now understood to be promoting the idea of a much smaller “community” stadium, possibly for use by the football team alone, and other local sports clubs, to be funded entirely from within the £3 million which in 2018 the council voted 69-41 to donate to the project.

Here's a planning permission which was granted earlier...but there is still no stadium

While such a scheme might be viable, the Cornish Pirates rugby club own Truro City football club and the idea of a "football" only development would certainly raise eyebrows.  Also, the significant downsizing of the proposals raises further questions over whether a separate planning application would be necessary in any event.

These officials are thought to have abandoned the idea of ever securing government funding for the stadium but were reluctant to see planning permission lapse, for fear that the new political complexion of the council elected last year might be less sympathetic to the stadium.  Elected local councillors have yet to see any new proposals, far less actually vote on them.

The land is owned by the council and a “community” project – which could be described as already funded from within an existing, approved budget – might sound more attractive.

Cornwall Reports has asked the council to explain the current status of the outline planning permission granted in 2012 and whether the advance use of S106 monies from the Lidl supermarket development – which is not yet complete – is lawful.

This article has 1 comment

  1. Cornwall Council’s website for s.106 says:

    “Legally a planning obligation must be:
    – necessary to make the proposed development acceptable in planning terms
    – directly related to the proposed development and
    – fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the proposed development.”

    How is the stadium project directly related to the Lidl development?

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