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Penzance gallery site's overhaul could revitalise town

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: October 25, 2012

  • PZ Gallery.

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A MULTIMILLION-pound plan to regenerate a Penzance "eyesore" could be the catalyst to revitalise the town.

Discussions over the future of 7 Coinagehall Street, currently home to the PZ Gallery, will take place tomorrow, from 9.15am to 4.15pm.

The grand overhaul, incorporating a hotel, office, retail and residential space, comes with a £15 million price tag.

If everything is approved the development, on the site of the former Vospers' building, could be up and running by 2014.

"The site stood there for years and has been an eyesore with nothing happening," said Derek Sheldon, owner of Palm Court Properties Ltd, named as preferred the company to develop the venue with Anglo-Holt Construction Ltd. The businesses are establishing Anglo Palm (Penzance) LLP to carry out the works.

A recent meeting of local stakeholders heard many ideas and views discussed for the iconic waterfront venue.

"There needs to be a catalyst and focal point, not just for the people who live in Penzance but also visitors," said Mr Sheldon. "This was one of the things discussed."

As part of the overhaul, a hotel company, described as a household name, is already being lined up to take over part of the development.

"We are in discussion with a major operator for the hotel," said the businessman, adding that talks were at an advanced stage for the operator to launch a 70-room hotel.

"We are down to the detail; how we cope with deliveries and things like that," he said.

Four proposals were put forward to revamp the site after it was put on the market by freeholders Cornwall Council in March this year.

"We are very conscious of trying to link the swimming pool, through St Anthony Gardens so it becomes a through way," said Mr Sheldon. "There will also be a piazza."

The prospect of potential development has been welcomed by some in the town, although they are waiting to find out how the final plan will take shape. "We are still concerned that an opportunity to create something very special may have been lost to the process of selling to the highest bidder," said Tim Dwelly, of campaign group A Future For Penzance.

"We wait to see with interest what transformational proposals they have."

Tomorrow's workshop will be a chance for anyone interested in the site to share their views on prospective plans.

The final layout of the development has yet to be decided and the planning application is due to be submitted in the early part of 2013. There are hopes that the hotel will be open by next Christmas with the rest of the venue operating from 2014.

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