A step free access into Falmouth’s Greenbank Gardens has been secured after a land swap deal was agreed |and although not everyone is happy, |the local Cornwall Council member|has conceded it is probably the best |solution.

The deal between the council and the Greenbank Hotel follows years of |wrangling after the council allowed a lease to expire and the hotel then refused to renew it. A court hearing|was pending, but that has now been set aside.

The council has said the decision to go ahead with the land swap has been made following careful consideration of all the representations made by members of the public.

A spokesman said: “The terms of |settlement will provide guaranteed step free access for the public and also avoids the risk of the access being lost if the proceedings continue and the council does not succeed in its claim for a new lease.

“While we acknowledge that there is currently an application for the land to be designated as a village green, we |consider that the risks of the application being unsuccessful justify the disposal of the land and the terms of the settlement. The land to be transferred to the hotel will be subject to a covenant |which will mean the hotel can only use it for garden space and not for any |substantial development, including buildings or car parking.”

“The disposal of any land at Greenbank Gardens is regrettable, and while we would prefer to continue to use the whole of hotel’s land as part of the gardens, the disposal and settlement are the most realistic and cost effective solution to ensure that step free access is secured now for the public benefit.”

Cornwall Council member for Penwerris, Hanna Toms, said: “I am relieved that step free access has been maintained. It is not the perfect solution, but I think it is the best solution.

“It is a shame that the hotel did not want to keep leasing the land, but they didn’t and it is their land so they are under no obligation to do that.

“At a time when the council is being very careful on what it spends, I think this is the right decision.

“I know there are some people who are really upset and I sympathise with them but there is another group of people very pleased that they will be able to carry on accessing the gardens.”