A bid to turn a former art gallery into three houses was brushed aside when it came before councillors this week.

Applicant Mr Thornton had wanted to knock down the former Mullion Gallery in Nansmellyon Road, Mullion and in its place build two semi-detached houses and a detached house on the same piece of land, which has in the past also been the site of a petrol station.

These would all be two-bedroom properties, with the upstairs level in the roof space, and have private garden areas and parking for two cars.

It had been recommended for conditional approval by planning officers but was called in by former division member Carolyn Rule, ahead of May's local election.

Explaining her reasoning she said: "The parish council and I are very concerned about this application. We understand that as a brownfield site something needs to happen here, but would like to know they have actively tried to market the site for resale as a business before submitting this application for housing."

She also shared the parish council's concerns that it was, in members' opinions, an overdevelopment of a small site and had potential safety issues regarding the road and pavement users.

The parish council added: "It is clear that to make this development financially viable, three properties need to be built to offset the costs of removing the fuel tanks. However, that will be to the detriment of this area of the village. Residents should not suffer for a developer to make a reasonable profit."

Falmouth Packet:

How the houses would look. Picture: RA Design Ltd

Planning documents state that the gallery was up for sale between November 2016 and May 2017, but "with little interest and no offers received to use the site for commercial premises".

Members of Cornwall Council's west sub-area planning committee were told that this was two months short of the required nine months for planning policy.

The planning officer's report goes on to say: "The site has been closed for commercial purposes for a number of years and this proposal would allow the re-development of this site providing housing for the village."

In the meeting it was acknowledged that if the proposal was approved, it would result in the loss of a potential business; however it was said the layout would limit what the building could be used for, and there were residential properties close by.

It was also mentioned that the old building had no architectural value and a number of conditions had been included in respect of contaminated land issues.

Councillors raised concerns about the angles that vehicles would have to reverse in to the parking area, and it was considered that the application should be refused on safety reasons.

One member expressed concern about the "cramped design" and believed two houses would be better.

It was unanimously agreed to refuse the application, on the grounds of scale, mass and design, and that it would result in an "inappropriate form of development" that, if permitted, would "fail to respect the scale, character and appearance of the surrounding area and hence not respect local distinctiveness."