There are claims Falmouth Town Council has been 'stitched up' when it comes to Ships and Castles after devolution proposals from Cornwall Council included one big caveat.

At a full council meeting which took place last night (April 11), Falmouth Town Council discussed what its next steps would be after its last meeting Cornwall Council cabinet member Richard Pears.

The town council meeting had originally been scheduled to take place last Monday, but had to be postponed due to mayor Steve Eva and town clerk Mark Williams both testing positive for Covid-19.

During last night's meeting, the proposals put forward by Cornwall Council with regards to what comes next in the Ships and Castles saga were aired after the town council received a letter on Friday explaining Cornwall Council's position.

After originally outlining that it would not be devolving the site to the town council as either an operating business or an empty building, Cornwall Council stated in the letter that it would do so, but only if Falmouth Town Council agreed to take on the entire headland, not just the Ships and Castles site.

It also added that, if this option were taken up by the town council, Cornwall Council would no longer be obligated to provide leisure services in Falmouth.

During the meeting, town mayor Steve Eva described the town council as having been 'stitched up' when it came to proposals for the future of the leisure facility.

Councillors also heard how Cornwall Council had so far failed to provide any figures for what running the Ships and Castles leisure centre would cost, with Cllr Jayne Kirkham describing the situation as the town council having been put "In a difficult position without enough information to make a decision."

After the letter was read out, Cllr Kirkham said: "This changes, I think, what we thought was their position.

"They seem to have rowed back.

"'This will not include additional investment from Cornwall Council, now when the CIC made their bid there was an option of, I think, £490,000 in capital that was set aside for Ships and Castles, and some potential revenue provision.

"It feels like that has all been called back, and the point about there being no further investment into leisure in Falmouth, that's new as well."

The meeting also heard from Ruth Thomas, the town council's Responsible Financial Officer, who said: "Nobody at Falmouth Town Council has been provided with any figures on how this service runs at the moment.

"Or on how much money is required to drive this service forward.

"The town council is being asked to support something it doesn't know how much it will cost to run."

Towards the end of the meeting, a motion was proposed by Cllr Jude Robinson that the town council would vote again to request running figures for Ships and Castles from Cornwall Council and ask them to work with community interest group, Pendennis Leisure, and itself to find solutions to the long term viability of the facility.

The motion was carried.

Explaining the decision to The Packet after the meeting, Cllr Eva said: "At the end of last week we received a letter from Cornwall Council stating that, because they'd heard rumours that we might be trying to save Ships and Castles, they would quite happily devolve it to us if we took on Ships and Castles, the headland, everything, and that would be it."

Deputy Mayor, Kirstie Edwards, agreed with the comments made by Cllr Eva, telling The Packet: "(The proposal) that Cllr Robinson put forward is fair because, in an ideal world, of course it would be 'devolve it to us, we'll run it, it will be wonderful', but the reality is, without knowing how much it's going to cost and what money we'd need to find, how on earth could that be possible?

"It would be irresponsible with public money to take that risk without actually knowing, it's a huge commitment.

"There's no way we can make a decision without knowing what the figures are."

"It's now putting the onus on us to be the people to save it, but the reality is we can't do that without knowing what we're getting ourselves in to financially."

Cornwall Council has been contacted for a response.