A near £2 million restoration of Porthleven's iconic institute and clock tower would see it become a wedding venue, community and heritage centre and - perhaps most controversially - a holiday let.

The famous clock tower itself, recognisable all over the world for images of waves smashing into it during some of the worst winter storms, would be partially opened up to the public and have a glass ceiling added to the entranceway, so that visitors could look up into the inside of the tower.

These are among the plans drawn up for the future of the Bickford-Smith Institute, which needs major restoration work in order to survive.

They are now being thrown open to the public to have a say, at a consultation event this Easter Saturday between 11am and 5pm. This will take place in the Porthleven Town Council offices of Caretaker’s Cottage, around the back of the institute, and will be a chance for people to read detailed information boards about the proposals and speak with members of the working party that put them together.

They have taken ideas raised at the last public open day, in March 2016, when "community heritage, art and culture" were the main uses that people said they wanted to see the building be available for in the future.

The detailed plans now show the main hall, currently used by the snooker club, being turned in a community hall with a programme of events and to be leased to community groups. It would be opened up as a wedding venue, for an estimated 20 days a year.

A raised mezzanine level would be added, to make more space and better use of the height of the room, which could become a gallery area to display works of local artists.

The upstairs meeting room would be kept for use by the town council for meetings and could also be booked by the community.

Caretaker's Cottage, where the town council currently meets, would be partially turned into a heritage centre with a digital archive and information about the history of Porthleven, with an office space for the town clerk.

The remainder of the cottage would become a one-bedroom holiday let, to produce income to fund ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the building following the restoration. This would be a requirement of any grant funding and the town council, which owns the building, will need to set aside a fund of £25,000 a year for this.

The group looked at other ideas to raise this income but could not find another to raise the necessary income, although it is open to hearing any other fully costed suggestions.

Once fully repaired, the clock tower would become available for access on special access or by arrangement, with the small front room used to access the heritage exhibition.

It is estimated the total project will cost £1.8 million, to include a full time admin and marketing officer and part time interpretation and activities officer for four years, along with a £20,000 activities budget to bring new events to the village.

It is hoped this will be partly funded through grant applications, such as to the Heritage Lottery Fund, partly through fundraising and partly through a low-cost loan through Cornwall Council.

Cultural consultant Ian Saltern has been brought in as project manager. He wrote the initial funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund that won £20,700 to cover the cost of these initial investigations and the plans being drawn up.

The working party has also drafted in the help of business plan consultant Kevin Brownridge and architectural technologist Chris Strike of RA Design, who works extensively in the area and has produced the new plans for the building in consultation with surveyors and conservation and heritage officers, giving his time to the project for free.

Porthleven mayor Andrew Wallis said: "This consultation is a result of two years of work by the working group, which consists of councillors, key-skilled professionals and residents who have worked tirelessly to explore options for the mammoth task of the building‘s restoration, as well as the future use of Porthleven’s most iconic building.

"The plans are ambitious, but the working group supported by the town council feel this is the best way of restoring the building, and also protecting it for generations to come.

"The consultation is open to both those near and far as those involved in the project want to hear all views."

The event on Saturday will run alongside a re-showing of the NetWorks project – the story of the net makers of Porthleven - to show the type of projects the building might house in the future. 

Anyone unable to make the weekend consultation can email their views to the town council via porthleventc@tiscali.co.uk.