A first glimpse has been given at how one of Helston’s most historic buildings could look after a major redesign – depending on the response from the public.

With the Guildhall falling into increasing disrepair and in need of major work, the town council has launched a project to restore the building while finding ways to see it used more by the community.

A set of three images has now been released ahead of a public consultation day when people can hear more about the ideas for the Grade Two* listed building, which once housed the town’s courtroom on the top floor.

They are described as aspirational concept designs, with those running the project wanting the public to tell them what they think at the consultation event, where there will be a lot more images to view and a 3D tour.

Helston projects officer Charlotte Caldwell said the aim was to make the Guildhall “a more attractive place to visit, hire and use now, and for future generations of locals and visitors.”

Falmouth Packet: The aim is to improve the top floor for weddings and eventsThe aim is to improve the top floor for weddings and events (Image: CAD Heritage)

She said: “For generations, the Guildhall has been a central asset in the town and has great cultural significance and meaning in the town, as it is the starting point of the dances on Flora Day and has a rich heritage having been a market house, law courts, assizes [a court that sits at intervals] and more recently a popular wedding venue.

“Currently the Guildhall has been rated as being in poor condition with a leaking roof and part of the top floor out of use due to structural issues caused by the ingress of water. The building contains rotting timbers, damp throughout and asbestos and other materials that would not be used today.

“If nothing is done to safeguard and secure this Grade Two* listed town asset, then it will fall further into decline and be at risk. “The building is also not disabled friendly and has poor accessibility. In addition, the public toilets at the rear of the building are old, out of date and are not disabled friendly.

“The consultation will highlight the plans to enhance toilet provision within the Guildhall and nearby.”

A public consultation day will now take place on Monday, November 27, and run from 11am to 9pm, to give everyone in the town a chance to attend, including local businesses, young people and community groups, as well as the wider public.

Free drinks will be served throughout the day. Online copies of the drawings will be available for those unable to attend in person.

Falmouth Packet: How the ground floor could lookHow the ground floor could look (Image: CAD Heritage)

The proposals include creating co-working space at the basement level, to encourage local businesses to collaborate with each other and bring more people into the town centre each day.

The plans are for a ‘Workbox’ Helston, similar to existing spaces in Penzance and Truro. An online survey of local small businesses is currently underway, and the public consultation will give those people a chance to come together over a working lunch discussion to explore their needs in more detail. This debate will take place between 12.30pm and 1.30pm.

It is proposed to use the middle floor of the Guildhall for community use and the top floor for more weddings, corporate hire and meeting space.

Helston Town Council would continue to meet on the top floor, but the room would be redesigned to make it more useable for weddings and events.

There are also plans for a lift to make the building completely accessible for all, which it isn’t at present.

Falmouth Packet: It is hoped more weddings and events will be held thereIt is hoped more weddings and events will be held there (Image: CAD Heritage)

Charlotte added: “The key message from Helston Town Council is that they want to restore the Guildhall within its heritage context, celebrating its heritage and restoring the building and at the same time re-designing the internal configuration and reimagining the uses of each floor to increase its appeal to the local community and businesses to ensure it is used to its fullest potential in a progressive way.”

The council wants to hear thoughts, reactions and comments from those who attend, so that the designs can be amended accordingly to reflect that feedback.

Using the consultation findings, the town council will then put together a major funding application to bid for external funds to help make the concept a reality.

Town mayor Miles Kenchington said: “We hope that lots of people attend the public consultation day as we really want to make sure the Guildhall is reimagined in a way that local people, visitors and businesses want and need. Whatever we do now is the lasting legacy for future generations.”