A bid by a 'well-established' Falmouth hotel to convert its gym and build a two storey extension with six new rooms in it has been refused.

Merchants Manor on Western Terrace had put in application to convert its ground floor gym to four letting rooms and for the construction of six more rooms within a proposed first and second floor extension.

Two rooms on the second floor would have had a decked viewing area contained by a balustrade.

But the application has been refused by a Cornwall Council planning officer on the grounds that : "The proposed development would by reason of its scale, massing, height and design result in harm to the character of the original host building and the character and appearance of this part of the Falmouth Conservation Area."

In the application the hotel said the proposed additional letting rooms responded to the “unique historic character” of the setting and would result in a “sympathetically” designed structure which would sit well against the building as an extension of the existing hotel.

But the application was opposed by the Historic Environment office of Cornwall Council which said, while the building was not listed, its soaring turrets and steep roof pitches with large chimneys were a fine 1930s example of its architectural influences of the period.

"There are very few large imposing buildings of this style in this area, hence the reason for its inclusion in Falmouth's Conservation Area, as with other earlier architectural house forms of the mid/later C19," it said in its response to the application.


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"Thus, whilst not a listed building, it does have elements of significance, not unlike a non-designated historic asset.

"Whilst it is accepted that previous consented extensions have impacted on the setting and character of this building, and caused harm, it is not appropriate that this philosophy should continue, especially within the context of its siting within the Conservation Area."

Falmouth Town Council's planning committee also recommended refusal on the grounds of over development and harm to the character and appearance of the Conservation Area which is in conflict with NDP (Neighbourhood Development Plan).