Falmouth councillors have pledged their wholehearted support for a £30 million project which will transform a prime seafront site with the construction of an “iconic and spectacular” new building shaped like an ocean-going liner.
Nigel Carpenter, who already owns St Michael’s Hotel and Spa and has now bought the neighbouring site of the fire ravaged Falmouth Beach Hotel, gave a 15 minute presentation to the town council’s planning committee on Monday night when he outlined his vision.
The proposed St Michael’s Spa and Wellness Resort, which will create over 90 jobs and safeguard an existing 115 positions, will include expanded spa and leisure facilities along with 75 residential apartments, 85 hotel bedrooms and suites, four eco lodges and a new shop and restaurant/bar fronting Cliff Road. A new access will also be created into the site from the seafront and there will be 168 parking spaces, 104 of them hidden underground.
The main focus of the development will be the “liner” building which now has an undulating grass roof and “funnels” which have been added following consultation with local residents and organisations.
Mr Carpenter said: “Falmouth deserves something new, iconic and spectacular. It cannot just be any old architecture, it has to be something in line with our Spirit of the Sea marketing strategy and that brings us back to boats, to sail, to the sea and to liners. I am very pleased that virtually everyone has supported it.”
After hearing the presentation and seeing images of the proposals, Councillor Steve Eva said: “The design is fantastic, it is forward thinking. I think Falmouth is on the up and this will only help bring in more business. I have looked for the negatives and I cannot find anything.
“I would like to see one condition, though, because I would not want to see washing and towels hanging from the balconies.”
Councillor Oliver Cramp added: “I think this will be a fantastic development for Falmouth. It will be a tremendous investment for Falmouth, is absolutely brilliant and this council should support Nigel as strong as we possibly can on this.”
The committee agreed and voted unanimously to recommend Cornwall Council approve the plans, subject to a condition restricting the use of balconies as drying areas.
Mr Carpenter is now hoping the public and local organisations will continue to support the proposals. “This scheme will help strengthen Falmouth’s growing position as one of the most vibrant, attractive and creative places to visit in Cornwall,” he said.
“It will create a lot of new jobs and |economic development throughout the town. It would be an unexpected and disappointing move to turn it down, but I know that decision will ultimately be taken in Truro so I am asking for everyone in Falmouth to show their support.”