Cornish Pirates aim to be playing in new stadium by 2017

By Brent PilnickBBC Sport
Stadium for Cornwall
The Stadium for Cornwall, with 6,000 seats, would be expandable should the Pirates get promoted to the Premiership

Championship side Cornish Pirates are aiming to be playing in a new Stadium for Cornwall, in Truro, by August 2017.

Chairman Ian Connell is hopeful that work will start on the arena in April 2016 after it was granted planning permission last month.

The club currently play at the Mennaye Field, in Penzance, but the ground is unsuitable for Premiership rugby.

"Our target is that we're going to be playing in pre-season in August 2017 in the new stadium," he told BBC Sport.

While the stadium has permission to be built, there are still issues to be resolved over the adjoining retail development which will help fund the building of the new ground.

"I'm as confident as I can be," Connell said in regards to the retail development.

Ian Connell
Ian Connell has been chairman of the Cornish Pirates since July last year

"Lots of things can happen as you go down the journey of a major infrastructure development.

"But all the indications are from the developer, and the builder Henry Boot, that as long as we progress with the timescale that we've already laid out and get their reserved matters dealt with in quick time then that timescale of 2017 should work."

Connell is also looking to increase the number of shareholders in the club.

Currently 70 parties own 240,000 shares in Cornish Pirates, with a further 160,000 shares remaining unsold.

"With the prospect of moving to Truro, we think that is now the opportune time to start to market those shares and that marketing will commence once the season commences in September," he added.

"Existing shareholders can increase their investment up to a limit, but we would also want to attract new people.

"If we can put 50% on the shareholding that would be a huge success.

"Whether we can do that, I'm not too sure at the moment, but that would be an aspirational target that we would look at."