The community interest company behind the bid to get Falmouth's closed leisure pool reopened has urged the town council to show leadership and take on the headland.

As a meeting of Cornwall Council's cabinet concerning the future of the former Ships and Castles leisure centre on Pendennis Headland draws near on July 20, Pendennis Leisure has called on Falmouth Town Council to take up the unitary authority's of taking over the headland.

The CIC says it is of the firm belief that full devolution of the headland and Ships and Castles is best for the people of Falmouth and surrounding areas. 

Posting on Facebook, Pendennis Leisure says its business plans are currently being assessed by external consultants but, unless the town council takes action now, any deal is dead in the water.

"We feel that there is enough value in the site Cornwall Council are offering for free to Falmouth Town Council to offset the financial risks of taking it on," says the company.

"The consultants' report will not necessarily give the town council certainty, because there is no certainty to be had. Falmouth Town Council needs to show leadership now and inform Cornwall Council they intend to take up their offer. Without that expression of intent, nothing else will be possible.


The cabinet is due to meet to discuss the Ships and Castles site on July 20

The cabinet is due to meet to discuss the Ships and Castles site on July 20


"We are doing our best as Pendennis Leisure CIC and the constraints we are under and we appreciate the difficulties faced, but unless Falmouth Town Council state their intent to Cornwall Council to support the community’s wants and needs by act of a full devolution of the site, for the possible reopening of the pool and to protect the headland, there will cease to be any chance of making this work. “

Replying Cllr Jude Robinson, chair of Falmouth Town Council's finance and general purposes committee said the council had told Cornwall Council that it will want to devolve the site if it can find a viable plan.

"Our responsibility is to all members of our community, including those who struggle to pay council tax or put food on the table," she said. "None of this is simple. Falmouth Town Council has stepped up to look at risk and find a solution in partnership with Pendennis Leisure. That is what we should be doing.

"Whatever Cornwall Council decides on 20 July, I have already had that conversation with them - it’s not the end of the process, it’s not the end of the opportunity. This is a manufactured deadline and it’s not helpful."


Ships and Castles is now closed

Ships and Castles is now closed


She says Falmouth Town Council is still exploring all the options to take over the site or to provide a new pool. It is also considering taking over the rest of the headland as they believe the town council can maintain it better than Cornwall Council, without additional costs to the taxpayers of Falmouth.

"Some councillors fear it is a lost cause," she said. "Some are urging FTC to take it on regardless of costs (and the pool could cost millions over the years), I’m in the middle, really wanting this to work but not willing to load huge extra bills onto residents of Falmouth."


Ships and Castles is now closed

Ships and Castles is now closed



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The options Cornwall Council gave Falmouth Town Council in April which will be discussed on July 20 are:

  • Cornwall Council maintains ownership of the land and building and decides the future in regard to sale and development
  • Full devolution of the Pendennis Headland, including Ships & Castles site, surrounding land and car park.
  • Disposal of part of the site. The Ships & Castles building and some or all of the car park would be sold.