Work has started this week on the £6 million improvement, refurbishment and development plan for the St Michaels Hotel & Spa in Falmouth as proposals for a new "Flotilla" apartments scheme were revealed for the first time.

The "Liner" building that had been planned to house 56 apartments has been scrapped in favour of the new three buildings which make up the "Flotilla."

Hotel proprietor, Nigel Carpenter, said: “This is one of the biggest leisure and tourism development schemes that the region has seen for some time, and it has been challenging to raise the funding. I have been talking to backers, developers, and investors for over 18 months.

"The outcome was that unfortunately, the 56 apartment, restaurant and deli 'Liner' scheme was seen as too expensive to fund in one go and with a limited number of contractors able to build it, the scheme was judged too 'big ticket.'

“I am determined to develop the site into something iconic for Falmouth. A new scheme continues the boat theme, but is now three ships – a ‘flotilla.’ We have developed these plans very carefully with the planners and design review panel.

"They find the curved design, softer and more appealing, and the space/views through the buildings are particularly liked. The average height is very similar to before. A restaurant, bar and village shop/deli are all still included as these were very popular with local residents. People who have seen it agree that it has come a long way from the architecture of the old Falmouth Beach Hotel, and actually prefer it to the Liner.”

Workmen arrived on site on Monday after the only remaining section of the Falmouth Beach Hotel, the 'Croft’ building closed the day before and will now be part-demolished to allow for a new two-storey bedroom extension and re-development/reconfiguration of the remaining Croft bedrooms. This will create 32 new premium bedrooms for St Michaels.

In addition, a new three-storey health club is being developed, which will utilise a refurbished 17 metre swimming pool and wet areas - which used to be popular when the Falmouth Beach Club was open before the devastating fire. This new health club will include a 5,000sq ft gym and four studios, making it one of the top health clubs in the entire South West.

In the New Year, it is hoped work will move on to the creation of the new St Michaels Spa, spa café, spa woodland lodges, new restaurant, entrance and function suite. However, this phase is conditional upon securing funding from the new “Flotilla” apartments scheme which has now gone in for planning and will be discussed by Falmouth Town Council's planning committee on Monday evening.

The first phase of hotel works will go through to January and continue straight on if the second phase of funding is unlocked by the anticipated approval of the new “Flotilla” scheme, which will create 63 apartments. Work on the first of these three buildings is expected to start in autumn 2017.

“It is very exciting,” added Nigel. “We are creating an amazing 'wellness resort' which will boost the local economy significantly and create 55 new jobs. Local people and the town as a whole will benefit considerably from the creation of all the new facilities.

“It is now over four years since the Falmouth Beach Hotel burnt down - it will be wonderful if we can now get on and create a great new facility on the site. Locals are keen to see something happen and it has been frustrating for me that it has taken so long, but now builders are on site and a new chapter for the hotel and Falmouth has begun.”