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Sunday, 31 July 2011

Stadium for Cornwall

There seems to be much angst amongst Cornish politicos as to whether or not we should have a brand new, shiny stadium right here in little Kernow.

On the one hand we have those who are trying to build a CV or reputation on the back of a stadium. These people are quick off the mark to extoll the economic and social benefits of a stadium. They go through the usual rigmarole of wholly hypothetical projections and estimates to tell us that this many jobs will be created or that many £millions will be generated from building this complex of stadium and 'sports village'.

On the other hand we have others who complain about how much it is all going to cost and worry about just exactly who is actually going to get any benefit from the stadium. Why should we pay for something that only a few will benefit from?

Personally, I think that this project is something that could be good for Cornwall. Why shouldn't the people of Cornwall be able to enjoy big events and the opportunities that this could deliver. Why shouldn't Cornwall be able to compete on the prestigious world stage in the modern world? I also think that if there truly is a benefit to be gleaned for Cornwall then the stadium should be owned and managed by Cornwall and not sold off to others to take the profit while the people pay the bills. If the benefits are there then the investment would be worthwhile. However, raising the money to pay for it shouldn't rely on greedy developers being granted licence to run riot with unaffordable and unnecessary housing developments as the price for getting it built.

The thing is there are probably just as many people who would prefer to keep green fields and a quieter life as there are that would welcome a stadium.

So here's an idea. Why not use the much vaunted Localism agenda bought to us by the ConDem government. Surely if there was ever a case for a 'local referendum' then this is it? Not only could we have a referendum we could also vote on whether we should pay for it through voting to allow Cornwall Council to go over a government imposed cap on council tax.

Come on Cornwall Council let the people decide. Do we want a stadium and do we want to pay for it?

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