Interest in the disused M&S building on Market Street in Falmouth is hotting up as a second pre-application for advice on the site is being sought.

Both Acorn Blue, the company behind the Liner building on Falmouth seafront, and Pentire Group have sought pre-application advice for potentially developing the site.

The currently unused building that occupies 44-46 Market Street has stood empty for over two years and has recently become the subject of not one but two pre-applications for planning and development.

The first application was submitted by Acorn Blue towards the end of last year, with another from Pentire Group submitted at the start of this week (Feb 15).

The site was sold subject to planning to Acorn Blue and the exchange took place at the end of January this year with the developers looking to bring 15 residential properties to the location as well as a street level commercial unit: Developer buys empty Marks and Spencer building to turn into flats and shops

However, given that the sale is subject to planning permission being granted, nothing has been set in stone just yet.

The Acorn Blue plans will look to keep a commericial unit on street level and will also include a mix of two, three and four-bedroom houses, duplexes and apartments, with outside space, boat storage, car-parking and a communal courtyard garden.

Stewart Colderick, of Colderick Property Consulting who represent the landowners, said: "It was a big disappointment to my clients who own the freehold that Marks and Spencer withdrew from the town.

"We were tasked with selling the property and the scheme that we thought would be the most viable, well financed and the best bet was Acorn."

Falmouth Packet:

Andrew Strathdee, Development Director at Acorn Blue, said: "We recognise the significance of the site of the former Marks and Spencer’s store to the high street and for this reason wanted to ensure we explored fully how best to bring the building and site back into use, in a way that was sustainable.

"Falmouth requires a long-term viable solution, is both feasible, deliverable and sustainable."

Informal advice given by Cornwall Council planning department on the Acorn Blue preapplication states: "Technical details with regards to the access could be supported at a full application stage subject to appropriate pedestrian visibility splays.

"Whether the application is acceptable or not in highways terms focuses on the principle of vehicular access via Market Street.

"There is a strategic vision to prioritise pedestrian movements in Market Street over vehicular which weighs negatively against the scheme as proposed with parking included."

However, Pentire Group, who are behind the alternative pre-application, are looking for a more community-based development: Marks and Spencer Falmouth innovation hub plan lodged

In their separate pre-application, they state: "We want to provide a space for innovation and growth with different local companies and freelancers coming together in the town centre."

The application also states that Pentire Group would be looking to showcase local chefs, local companies and freelancers as well as holding community events and developing access to the sea in partnership with Falmouth Harbour.

"M&S has a long standing history in Falmouth, being the focal point of the high street for 80 years with quite possibly one of the best cafe views in the South West.

"Losing it has had a detrimental effect on the high street and we plan to breathe new life into the iconic store and bring the community together.

"The project will be the biggest co-working project in Cornwall and the first foodhall pergola roof garden, putting Falmouth on the map and showing that Falmouth is at the forefront of remote working and sustainable development in this new world.

"We are a forward thinking company and have the financial backing to follow through on the project and make it a reality."

The pre-application submitted by Pentire Group is currently awaiting comment and advice, which will be published in the Packet as it becomes available .