A prominent Falmouth shop building could be partially converted into flats after lying vacant for more than a year.

Richard Nunn, the owner of the Richard Cook building at 21 to 24 Killigrew Street, which his family ran as a home furnishing store for 115 years until it closed in February last year, has asked advice from Cornwall Council about converting it.

In his proposal, Mr Nunn sought pre-application advice for turning the ground floor into four smaller shops and the first and second floor into flats.

This would include an extension to the second floor above numbers 22 and 23, with four new dormer windows on the front, to allow for up to ten flats: six studio flats, three one-bedroom flats and one two-bedroom flat.

In her report, planning officer Laura Potts said various options had been proposed, for between six and ten flats, but added: "It appears that a scheme for lesser residential units at upper floors - ie six units - is likely to be more acceptable as there will be less pressure on cycle storage, amenity, bin and recycle storage."

Read next: Falmouth shop in business for 115 years to shut its doors for good

She said the idea of sub-dividing the existing ground floor into smaller units and converting the upper floors to residential use could "potentially be supported" given that the building was within the town centre and prime shopping area, but that the partial loss of business would have to be justified.

The flats would benefit the town's housing supply, she added.

Ms Potts said she could not currently give a view on the proposed external alterations in the conservation area and surrounding buildings, but this would "carry significant weight."

She advised, however, that a proposed large flat roof at the back be either left out or significantly reduced and re-designed.

She said given its location in the town centre, and the constraints of the site, she would not expect car parking to be provided, but that there must be sufficient storage for waste and recycling within both the shops and flats, as it would "not be acceptable" for this to be left on the pavement in front.

The Cornwall Local Plan states that such proposals must prove at least one of the following: there is no market demand, by active marketing for at least nine months; result in better quality employment space; meet a clear need for community facilities; be unsuitable to continue as a business due to environmental considerations.

However, Ms Potts added: "When considering the overall balance of considerations, the re-use of this empty building for a mix of retail and residential is likely to outweigh this loss."

Read next: High profile video game developer to level up with new base in Falmouth

Design company AntiMatter Games, currently based at Tremough Innovation Centre on the Penryn Campus, had previously been given permission for change of use of the building and to carry out minor alterations and a complete refurbishment, but managing director Richard Barham told the Packet this week that plans had changed.

Mr Barham, who has worked with some of the world's leading game developers in California, including as group manager of World of Warcraft creators Blizzard from 2006 to 2008, said: "We felt that, based on the information gathered during the process, the building sadly did not present a sensible commercial decision for us.

"We have attempted to secure another location in Falmouth, however regulations relating to that building also make it impossible for us to move to.

"Given the lack of commercial property suitable for our growing company, we have now unfortunately had to decide to proceed with moving plans outside of Falmouth."