Plans for a stadium for Cornwall are "alive and kicking" and could be financed by revenue from a supermarket on adjoining land, it has been announced.
New proposals for a retail site next to the stadium at Threemilestone have been released which developers claim “inject commercial reality into the process”.
Plans for the stadium appeared to have gone cold as no financial backer was forthcoming and Cornwall Council voted against investing public money into the project.
Inox Group has already got planning permission for the stadium and 1,500 homes on land at Langarth near Truro’s park-and-ride.
The company said it had now secured an option on an additional 35 acres of land adjoining Langarth Farm and had instructed commercial property agents to market the site to potential end users, including supermarket operators.
Subject to planning, the company said it aimed to create a commercial scheme that could bankroll not just the construction of the multi million pound stadium but provide long term revenue streams to help meet running costs.
This could include a supermarket, petrol station, cycle track, sports pitches, leisure facilities and some housing, with net proceeds being ploughed into the stadium project.
Inox Managing Director Rob Saltmarsh said: “In 2010 Inox committed to assisting with the delivery of the Stadium for Cornwall by securing planning permission and providing the land for the stadium – this we have now done. Given the continued pressure on the public purse we have now further committed to try and source private funding for what we believe is an incredible project that would be a major asset for the whole of Cornwall.”
Mr Saltmarsh said his company would now seek to gain planning permission for the new proposals which would help to fund the stadium.
He said: “Other areas of funding have been exhausted over the past few years and although I am sure there will be both critics and supporters of this approach, the blunt reality is that without public funding we have no other option but to pursue commercial funding avenues that we are advised have the potential to generate the millions required to make this project happen.
“If the stadium is ever going to happen, then some commercial reality needs to be injected into this process.”
Mr Saltmarsh said the funding options would be a lot clearer in the coming weeks and if positive Inox would look to hold discussions with Cornwall Council and potential stadium tenants the Cornish Pirates RFC, Truro City FC and Truro and Penwith College, with the aim of submitting an enabling development planning application in the spring of 2014.
Peter Marks, chairman of the Stadium 4 Cornwall (S4C) group, said he welcomed the Inox initiative. He said: “The previous full Council voted against the use of public monies to help fund the community stadium and it was made clear that the private sector needed to find a solution.
“This latest news shows the stadium project is alive and kicking and a potential private funding solution is possible, but for the enabling development to happen, the support of Cornwall Council will be required.
“It remains the view of S4C and thousands of people in Cornwall that a community stadium must be a top priority for Cornwall.”
Dicky Evans, Cornish Pirates chairman, said: “Despite the delays and hurdles in the way over the last few years, the Cornish Pirates are pleased to confirm that they remain fully committed to supporting the proposed Stadium for Cornwall at Langarth, Truro.
“Without such a facility the Pirates are unable to move forward in their quest to improve sporting standards in Cornwall and especially on the rugby field.
“It is galling to see local players continue to move out of Cornwall to improve their prospects of top class rugby and this talent drain can only be halted by the provision of such a facility.”
Last week Truro City Football Club indicated its ongoing desire to move to a stadium site to make way for the development of Treyew Road.