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Seafront developers outline plans

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: November 01, 2012

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DEVELOPERS with a multimillion-pound plan for one of Penzance's prime locations are looking at buying more land around the site to make it a "landmark destination".

Proposals for the PZ Gallery site in Coinagehall Street include a hotel of up to 80 bedrooms and a basement car park, plus the potential for flats, offices, restaurants, bars and retail outlets.

Those behind the scheme say they have also approached the owners of neighbouring properties in Quay Street and Coinagehall Street to ensure they don't have to "compromise" on any of their plans.

Developers Palm Court Properties Ltd, Anglo Holt Construction and Sidell Gibson artchitects held a workshop with Cornwall Council planners and stakeholders last Friday at the PZ Gallery.

Palm Court director Derek Sheldon confirmed they had approached several hotel companies and were hoping to submit a planning application for the site early next year.

"We have had requests for a 60-bed hotel, an 80-bed hotel and a 70-bed hotel," he said. "We are not in a position to decide that yet but it is nice to have the interest.

"I am fairly confident we will get a hotel and it will just bring more people into Penzance.

"We are looking at the whole site as a landmark destination development. This is one of the most beautiful bays in the world and what is looking out to it is sadly neglected.

"This is private investment coming into Penzance because we think it is commercially viable. I would say the majority of people are positive because they want to see something happen in Penzance."

Geoffrey Barrett, from architect Sidell Gibson, added after the meeting: "We have had a careful look at what is around there and thought that if we put these brand new buildings up and leave the other buildings around there it is going to be a compromise. All the other owners have been approached and we hope to have discussions with them."

Robin Turner, who has spent a lifetime in ports and harbours working in the fishing industry, said he was very positive about the scheme.

"This is an investor who has decided to step over the Tamar and spend his money," he said. "It would be lovely to have a restaurant culture at this end of town but there has got to be an awful lot of planning put into it. It all has to be costed.

"These guys have done an awful lot of work in there so far. I applaud them for that. They are going to advertise the hotel space nationwide. It will grow business."

And Martin Nixon, chair of the Friends of Jubilee Pool, also welcomed the discussions that had taken place.

He said: "We welcome the developer's desire to investigate how they might integrate their proposals with the pool, as we believe Jubilee Pool could play a leading role in the future regeneration of Penzance. We look forward now with great interest to see the finer details of their scheme."

However, the owners of some local guest houses and hotels have expressed concern about the arrival of a budget hotel providing further competition in a struggling market.

Terry Kendall, owner of Lynwood guest house in Morrab Road, fought against the plans for a Travelodge hotel at the old Gasworks' site last year, but the plans were approved under delegated powers by Cornwall Council.

He said: "My own view is that in principle I have got no problem to planning being given to a hotel although the town has some other needs. But if we are going to have a hotel it has to be a hotel that is going to bring a higher income group to the town."

Paul Young, chair of Penzance Civic Society, said he was concerned about the impact of a large development in an area of Penzance where smaller streets were part of the fabric.

"My basic overall concern is that this is Penzance's last chance to keep its village ethos, its sailors' town heritage," he said.

"You have got the potential for a little slice of Cornish village which is exactly what people come to Penzance to see and we are wilfully destroying it because the council has got targets for estates' sale."

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