A significant part of one of Helston’s largest empty shop buildings could be turned into flats.

Developers have applied for planning permission to convert the rear ground floor and first floor of the former M&Co building at 13 Meneage Street, Helston into five residential apartments - three one-bedroom flats and a pair of two-bedroom flats.

The project would involve sectioning off the back third of the existing shop floor to turn into one of the two-bedroom flats.

The first two thirds of the shop floor would remain, with a new staff area created at the back, next to a lobby area between the shop and the ground floor flat.

The entire first floor would then be converted into the remaining four flats.

The building has been empty since 2020. M&Co closed at the start of the lockdown and did not reopen on June 15 along with other non-essential retail shops.

Lyn Roskruge, manager of the Helston branch, then revealed in August of that year that the shop was one of 47 being closed by M&Co nationally. 

M&Co closed in Helston in 2020M&Co closed in Helston in 2020 (Image: Google Street View)

Documents put together by Cornwall Planning Group on behalf of Carlton Park Construction state that the proposed works would “lead to an enhancement to the immediate and surrounding area”, adding: “The proposed works do not provide any visual impact or harm to any immediate neighbours.”

The application indicates there would no on-site parking for the five flats, explaining: “Consideration should be given that the area is highly sustainable and there is no requirement to provide on-site parking in support of our application.

“The application site is well located to existing bus links, trains, public transport and facilities. It is anticipated that the applicants will require minimal use of private vehicles.”

It states that the flats would incorporate ‘Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery’, which optimises indoor air quality by extracting stale air and recovering heat from it. The recovered heat is then transferred to incoming fresh air.

The development would also implement water conservation measures such as rainwater harvesting and low-flow fixtures to minimise water usage.

How the ground floor and first floor could lookHow the ground floor and first floor could look (Image: Cornwall Planning Group)

It goes to add: “While some flats may lack direct access to outside space and natural daylight, the project is committed to integrating green infrastructure elements to mitigate these limitations and create a healthy and vibrant living environment.”

These would include internal green spaces within communal areas “designed to promote relaxation, social interaction, and well-being among residents.”

Where possible skylights and ventilation shafts would be used to introduce natural daylight and fresh air into the internal spaces.

Cornwall Planning Group concludes: “We believe that the details submitted clearly show that the site can be developed in a way that the locality will not be adversely affected, indeed, there is a clear opportunity to provide a high-quality development to meet the needs of present and future generations.”