A trader has put out a call to arms for local artisans to band together and take over the historic site of Marks and Spencer in Falmouth.

The multinational retailer is shutting its Falmouth store in February after trading from Market Street for more than 80 years.

Mark Opie, from Eat Art picture framers, said: "We don't want another Poundland going in there. We can't rely on big businesses any more, the future is in local businesses working together. "

He sees potential in the site and believes it would be the perfect spot for an artisan's market, as "there's lots of talent out there."

Mark proposed that traders should form a co-operative to share the cost of rent and business rates.

He went on to say: "I have had the idea for ages, I thought it would be the ideal space for local people to set up, not just stalls and stuff, but higher end spec. Like Market on the Moor used to be.

"When you walk through Falmouth now, austerity has finally filtered down and it has bitten hard. It's quite sad really. If there's nothing left in Falmouth it's going to be a ghost town.

"It would have to be done right so it doesn't become like a Pannier Market where people are just selling cheap tat. We want to drag in the right sort of people with money to pump into the local economy.

"Everybody could work together."

Falmouth town manager Richard Gates says the idea is possible in theory.

He said: "It's a complicated thing, but any positive options can be looked at. It's a big site, there's a lot of work to be done. It would really be down to the agent."

Mr Gates said that traders could form a co-operative to share costs, but that "someone's got to be ultimately responsible".

The Falmouth Packet is planning to give the historic store a fitting send-off in the January 30 edition.

If you have any old photographs of the store or stories about its early days, please get in touch via email (marco.ferrari@packetseries.co.uk) or phone (01326 213331).