A quarter-of-a-million pound project to develop a 'cultural quarter' in Helston has been launched.

It would see the Drill Hall Yard, next to the Museum of Cornish Life, brought into public use for events, markets and potentially outdoor eating, with ambitions to create a walkway between the museum and the CAST Cafe in Penrose Road.

Initial estimates for the scheme are in the region of £250,000 and while the money has yet to be found, the aim is to develop plans ready for bids to be made and to help Helston not miss out on any future funding that becomes available.

Last month Helston Town Council's amenities committee agreed to back the project in principle and to set up a partnership group with the other organisations involved, to look in more detail at the work needed. This decision will be put before the full council this month for confirmation.

It draws upon ideas previously suggested in the Helston Public Realm Framework document back in 2015, which set out three potential schemes.

Ultimately this led to the refurbishment of the Grylls Monument and Monument Walk area, which is now completed and has resulted in a new monthly market during spring and summer.

Another of the schemes was to develop the Market Place area and this has now been resurrected.

It is also one of the five key projects in Helston Community Interest Company's plan for the future of the town.

Helston Town Council's projects officer Martin Searle said: "It is understood that both South Kerrier Heritage Trust (the museum) and the trustees of CAST are both supportive of the overall aspirations for the proposals and in particular for the creation of a new pedestrian way linking their respective cultural attractions.

"Although funding to implement such proposals is not currently available, it is considered essential to have some projects - ideally within some sort of town plan - that are prepared as far as possible and capable of being delivered within a reasonable period of time, in order to take advantage of any future strategic funding that might become available to Helston."

In a report to the council amenities committee, Mr Searle said opening up the Drill Hall Yard, which is owned by the town council, would result in the loss of the parking it currently offers.

At the moment there are spaces for the town clerk, deputy town clerk and the council's van, with the council also receiving £1,560 a year for hiring out three further parking spaces to third parties for £10 a week.

However, he believed there would be many gains from the project, including making better use of the "impressive surrounding architecture" and giving the museum the chance to stage activities that complemented their normal programme.

It would also result in better disabled access to the museum - and potentially the Guildhall public toilets also - and an improved look to the top of Church Street.

"It should be noted that the scheme would be designed sensitively to retain historic features, such as the Anson cannon, and cobbled surfacing of heritage and architectural value, whilst at the same time making modest changes to reduce cluttering and improve pedestrian accessibility," he added.

It has been suggested the walkway between CAST and the museum might be the first phase of the project, which would require new masonry steps from the back of the museum to the CAST Cafe terrace.

In January 2015 a provisional sum of £30,000 plus VAT was allowed for the steps but Mr Searle said there would also need to be other repairs and improvement works to adjacent walls - some of which are in private ownership - a collapsed drain and surfacing to create a safe link.

Helston CIC has arranged a meeting with the head of culture at Cornwall Council in order to draw officers' attention to the project.