Unanimous backing has been given to a new Arts Hotel for Porthleven, which is likely to take more than a year to complete.

The town council this morning heard more about Trevor Osborne’s plans for Breageside Quay in Mount Pleasant Road, where he hopes to convert the Old Fish Warehouse and reconstruct the Limekiln while developing the area in between, to create a 15-bedroom hotel with restaurant and gallery.

Explaining his reason to build one, Mr Osborne said: “I’m reluctant to relax on the idea that Porthleven doesn’t need to be constantly evolved, so that we get a continuance of the favourable comments that now exist."

There are no letters of public objection on the Cornwall Council website and a public consultation has been carried out, with Mr Osborne saying: “One of the areas that received comment, and people weren’t quite sure what to make of, is the matter of the gables, which suggests a change. I didn’t want to feel I was producing a replica of the other building.

“This is a little unusual, but there’s nothing wrong with architecture being unusual, it’s often a good thing as it makes a difference.”

Falmouth Packet:

Councillor Liz Lane was also against the gables, fearing a precedent would be set and comparing them to “a Lego land.”

Gaps between the existing mackerel building and net loft are being left clear, giving a view out towards the cliffs, and this was praised by councillors. The garages behind are to remain and the land at the back will become an open green area, perhaps to display sculptures.

One of the main issues councillors wanted to be clear over was that of parking for the hotel – which Mr Osborne said would be solely based at his new car park and business park at Tolponds.

It would be run as valet parking, with guests pulling up outside the hotel, unloading their luggage and handing their keys to a member of staff, who would add a fold-up bicycle in the boot and drive it to Tolponds before cycling back.

Falmouth Packet:

“It’s the sort of hotel where a lot of guests will be driven here rather than the other way around,” he added, saying the rooms would cost in excess of £250 a night. “It’s a different kind of visitor.”

Some councillors were of the opinion that the green area for sculptures would be perfect for private guest parking, or disabled parking, but Mr Osborne replied: “I don’t want to encourage car parking in the village.”

Internally, Mr Osborne said: “We’re not producing corridors to rooms, we’re producing galleries through which people will walk.”

He said there would be a different exhibition within the hotel, displaying a minimum of 60 paintings, every month and there would be a preview on the first Thursday of each month. He expected this to boost the local economy, as people would go out for drinks that evening and were likely to stay over that night and even into the weekend.

The plans have been put together by architect firm Burrell Foley Fischer, after the architect Mr Osborne first approached, Sir Jeremy Dixon, decided not to take on the project. “He didn’t want to get drawn into local debate,” said Mr Osborne.

He estimated that the hotel would employ around 30 staff and building work would take around 12 months to complete, followed by a further three months to fit out it out internally. This was most likely to begin in the spring of 2020 , to avoid bad weather, following the completion of the Tolponds development – which looked to have been pre-let already – and the shipyard Innovation Studio.

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Councillors asked what would happen to the current tenants in these buildings, with Mr Wallis saying: “It’s an arts hotel and you’re removing artists?”

Mr Osborne agreed: “We’re very concerned about that too,” but added that in due a course there would be an application for artist studios and none of the tenants had complained.

He said the paddle boarding business Vertical Blue Adventures would be relocated to the end shed and the owner was “very pleased with that.”

Councillor Trevor Toms raised concerns over bats, although Mr Osborne said he was “bemused” by the bat survey that said none were found but that did not mean there weren’t any.

Mr Toms said horseshoe bats, which are protected, were there in the summer, although Mr Osborne replied: “I don’t believe that,” and that the fishermen said there were no bats.

Councillors agreed unanimously to support the application on two conditions: that a full bat study be carried out at different times in the year and that a turning circle was included near the hotel, so that cars could be driven back out the same way and not add to the traffic on ‘the loop’ past The Ship Inn.