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Football's coming home

Thursday, 15 February 2024 14:19

By Lee Trewhela, local democracy reporter

Truro to play in Truro again

It’s official – Truro City Football Club, which is currently playing its home games in Taunton, will finally be returning to its home city as plans for the new Truro Sports Hub were approved today.

A meeting of Cornwall Council’s strategic planning committee unanimously agreed to allow the council’s development arm Treveth to build Truro Sports Hub in the heart of what will be the 4,000-home Langarth Garden Village on the outskirts of the city. Work has already started on the site – which will replace the failed 10,000-seater Stadium for Cornwall bid – so Truro City FC will be back home in time for the next season.

The facility will include a main pitch to serve Truro City, with a capacity for 3,000 fans and potential to increase to 4,000. The ground can be adapted for other sports such as rugby as well as public events and entertainment. Temporary buildings will provide the necessary initial infrastructure to secure Football Association (FA) certification of the ground.

A 3G community pitch will provide a ground for neighbouring Threemilestone Football Club, which currently has to pay to train and play at Boscawen park in Truro. Other local teams will also be able to use this ground. Both pitches will be floodlit and there will be a 72-space car park, although visitors will be encouraged to use the adjacent Langarth park and ride on match days.

The main pitch will be completed this year with the community pitch to follow in 2025. Treveth aims to deliver a new permanent clubhouse and community building on the site, which will serve the residents of the new Langarth Garden Village. They will be dependent on the outcome of a future planning application.

Derek Green, who represented Kenwyn Parish Council which supports the application, said: “Kenwyn is a large rural parish which will become larger. At the moment there is no organised football pitch or any sports pitches within the Kenwyn area. There are only 15 all-weather football pitches in Cornwall in total. A good proportion of these are privately owned.

“When Langarth is up and running, Kenwyn parish will have a similar amount of residents as Hayle, so this is a significant area with no sports facilities.”

Councillors heard a joint statement from Truro City and Threemilestone football clubs: “We believe this to be a unique opportunity to deliver an outstanding and sustainable sports facility for the people of Truro and surrounding areas.”

A statement was also read out from Cornish Pirates owner Sir Dicky Evans, who spearheaded the Stadium for Cornwall campaign. He said: “While it was a difficult decision to let the Stadium for Cornwall go, we now have an exciting, sustainable future in the community sports hub. It not only brings Truro City FC back to Cornwall but serves the local community including Threemilestone Football Club.

“While the project is a third smaller than our original plan, importantly it has been designed in a way that will allow further expansion in the future, if and when needed. Multi-sport facilities are lacking in Cornwall and this site will deliver for any shape of ball for any and every person.”

Divisional member Cllr Dulcie Tudor added: “I recognise that these plans are an opportunity – probably the only opportunity – to get a high-spec sports pitch for the local community and Threemilestone Football Club. This is the first stage of what will be a great sports hub which will promote health and wellbeing for the present community and for the future residents of the Langarth Garden Village.”

The meeting heard there was the chance for possible growth at the site to provide capacity of up to 10,000, but that would rely on future planning applications.

The FA compliant pitch and building work is estimated to cost £4.46m – £2.03m of which comes from Truro City FC from the sale of its former Treyew Road ground and £2.43m of capital directly funded from the Langarth Garden Village budget.

The community pitch and associated work including car parking is to be funded through Football Foundation grant funding, envisaged to be in the region of £800,000, and around £1.74m of Langarth capital.

Cllr Peter Perry said if it wasn’t approved it would leave a “void and it’s in our hands to avoid that”. Cllr Peter Guest, who used to manage Probus youth team, said it had been a long frustration for local teams to get games on pitches that are fit for purpose and so he fully supported the application.

The strategic planning committee voted to back the plans. Following the meeting, Cllr Tudor told us: “We’re getting four things delivered on the former stadium site. A football ground for Truro City Football club, who’re finally coming back home. A community football pitch so Threemilestone Football Club who’ve had to play and train in Truro can come home too. And within a year we’ll be seeing plans for a building that will be both a clubhouse for TCFC and a community centre with enough space for indoor sports. What’s not to like?”

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