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Plan met with 'optimism'

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: July 11, 2013

  • The public were invited to an event to view plans for St John's Hall.

  • Brenda Lemon, Penzance farmers' market co-ordinator, viewing the plans.

  • Penzance Mayor Cllr Phil Rendle has concerns about the entrances. PZPM20130708B-001_C.JPG

  • Peter Waverley said the plans were very interesting but he was worried that continued budget cuts at Cornwall Council could have an impact on the build.

  • Barbara Dixon said County Hall was insensitive when naming two ideas for the facade of the building Option A and Option B. "It is quite typical," she said.

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PLANS for the multimillion- pound refurbishment of a Penzance landmark have been met with quiet optimism in the town.

The public were invited to view the proposals for St John's Hall this week, which include moving the town's public library, register office and one stop shop all under one roof.

Despite many agreeing that a £5.6 million cash injection should be celebrated, others were worried about some details of the major overhaul.

"The opportunity to refurbish the building is brilliant for the town," said Brenda Lemon, farmers' market coordinator, who added that the weekly food event was keen to thrash out improved conditions for its stallholders.

"If we are invited to go back we hope there will be outside electric and water points and still at a reasonable rent."

The market group has suggested it should be set up at the bottom of the St John's Hall car park during dry weather, while the building works are under way, but there is still a question mark over where the stalls will go in wet weather.

This latest investment in the Alverton Street venue is seen by many as Cornwall Council finally pushing money towards Penzance after ignoring the town for years.

But old battle lines were brought up again when visitors to this week's event noticed that two ideas for the facade of the hall had been labelled Option A and Option B – reigniting memories of the divisive failed attempt to revamp Penzance harbour.

"Calling something Option A, how insensitive is that," said one woman as she looked over the plans.

"I think it is important to spend money on a building like this which has been neglected and is a very important statement for the town.

"But this public event is all hype to make everyone feel that they have been included – this is not a consultation, this is something that has already been decided."

A spokesperson for Cornwall Council's planning team said: "This is an information day to gauge people's views.

"We will then take these away and possibly make adjustments to the plans."

Work is expected to begin on the listed building in March next year.

The newly refurbished building would be scheduled to open 12 months later.

A second public event to view the plans is being held at St John's Hall on Saturday, August 10 between 9am and 12.30pm.

Comments can also be sent to haveyoursay@cornwallrcc.org.uk or by calling 01872 243559.

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  • Dantwo  |  July 11 2013, 11:04AM

    "But this public event is all hype to make everyone feel that they have been included – this is not a consultation, this is something that has already been decided." This is how everything in Cornwall is decided these days - lots of public consultation then the 'already made' decision implemented. You only have to look at the Marazion cycle path extension to see this. It's good news that people aren't being fooled. It's a great pity that the public were not consulted prior to the closure of the Jennings Street public toilets. Although thinking people would have said 'Keep them open' they would have been closed anyway. But at least we'd know who to blame for this move designed to drive shoppers away from Penzance.

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