Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Cornwall Council votes no to stadium

At today’s Full Council meeting, the five MK councillors backed a proposal for the Council to investigate taking the lead in delivering a stadium for Cornwall.

Speaking on behalf of the group, I was critical of the report in front of councillors and how the issue has been handled. My speech was as follows:

The Mebyon Kernow group has discussed the issue of the stadium at length and I would like to make the following statement:

In principle, we believe that Cornwall should have the same facilities that other parts of the UK take for granted. And why shouldn’t Cornwall have a purpose-built sporting stadium like elsewhere?

As a group, we can support the first part of the recommendation, specifically that the Cabinet “consider” taking a lead on the stadium.

It is right that Cornwall Council does investigate the options to support this project.

But we are extremely angered and saddened at how this issue has been mishandled.

Only two months ago, at the last Full Council, councillors were informed that Cornwall Council would not need to put “public money” into the project.

And now, days after the massive housing development at Langarth was approved, we have this request for funding. With respect, the timing is at best cynical.

We are also appalled at the report in front of us today. It is shockingly short on detail.

It does not tell us why the Cornwall Community Stadium Ltd could not find the full funds. It does not explain what the difficulties were. It does not tell us what the position is with governmental, grant or European funding? It does not even tell us what the level of investment is from the partners within the stadium.

Nor does it consider the nature of the impact on the capital budget in any way at all!

As backbench councillors, we maintain that this is unacceptable.

I also made it clear that we could not support the recommendations as set out in the report, and moved an alternative proposal based around the original. It was as follows:

That the Cabinet be invited to consider whether it would be appropriate for the Council to take the lead in delivering a stadium for Cornwall which promotes community use and economic benefit for the people of Cornwall.

That the Cabinet request the Environment & Economy and Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committees to ensure that the proposals for any scheme for a stadium for Cornwall are fully scrutinised.

And a detailed report setting out the business case with full financial information brought back to full Council to seek the views of all Members, before Cabinet makes a decision.

The recommendations were seconded by independent councillor Andrew Wallis, but lost by 55 votes to 46. 

Voting in favour of the proposal were all five MK councillors, the single Labour councillor, 17 Lib Dems, 13 independents and 10 Conservatives.

It was opposed by 26 Conservatives, 17 Lib Dems and 12 independents. Seven members abstained: two were independents and five were Tories.

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