News that work is about to begin on turning the former Marks and Spencer building in Falmouth into flats and retail units has not gone down well with local residents.

The announcement came from town centre manager, Richard Gates, who in a weekly newsletter revealed the controversial development would commence during the week of February 19.

Falmouth residents and businesses had been waiting for official confirmation, given that the property in question is a talking point.

Behind the project is Acorn Blue, which also developed the Liner building on Falmouth seafront.

The work will involve transforming the iconic Market Street landmark into 14 apartments and adding three retail units on the ground floor.

An additional car park on the lower floor is also in the blueprint.

Marks and Spencer had been a staple of the Falmouth high street, closing its doors for the last time on February 2, 2019, after more than 80 years of serving customers.

Falmouth Packet: M&S Falmouth Feb 2024

News that the redevelopment work is now about to begin has caused some upset amongst locals, residents and readers of the Packet website. 

A Packet reader said: "The whole thing is a shame for Falmouth", while another angry local added: "Falmouth's position as the most depressing town for 2025 is well and truly secured".

A worried resident sees the works as "a sign of asset stripping the region".

Some hoped to keep the iconic clock of the building safe.

They noted: "I hope the clock will stay", while another agreed and said: "Would be nice to keep it as long as it works and is maintained".

Falmouth Packet: M&S Falmouth Feb 2024

But it was not all doom and gloom in Falmouth, as others were just glad there was something happening after the building stood empty for such a long time.

A local explained: "The building has been empty for so long and Market Street is in such a state, so I am just glad to see anything happening there".

However, a prevalent critique was the addition of more second homes in the town that "are simply not needed".

Another brought up Falmouth Town Council and Cornwall Council's rejection of the plans, which were subsequently passed on appeal by a Planning Inspector, and said: "This should not be allowed to happen, the alternatives for what locals wanted are much better for Falmouth".

But with work on the iconic Falmouth building about to start, it seems that this piece of the town's history will soon be consigned to the past.