Penzance Town Centre

Penzance Town Centre

Thursday 25 April 2024

Coinagehall Development - How to Support this Important Development


Above - how the revised proposal will appear (CGI image)


The Coinagehall site is currently one of Penzance’s premier eyesores. It has been an eyesore for 20+ years and has defied private sector development attempts (at least 3 times) due to the complexity of the site and marginal economics

Cornwall Council is now trying to develop the site using its in-house developer Treveth.  The project is supported by £3.6 million of Govt. funding from the Penzance Future High Street Fund so that its  scope embraces improvements to the surrounding public spaces including St Antony Gardens and the area outside the Dolphin and Dock Inns.

The planning application was withdrawn initially because of objections to the proposed café in the Gardens and the loss of too many of the man-made features (walls and arches). There were also concerns about the height of the building and its impact of the setting of St Mary’s Church.

The plans were revised following public consultation, especially the changes to the Gardens,  The café was removed and certain features of the Gardens retained.  Some changes were also made to the top floor of Block D (the main block) to reduce its impact when viewed from the Church. 

At the Planning Meeting on the 29 Apr there was a split whether to approve it (5 votes for and 5 against).  The Chair cast his vote against the development causing refusal of the application but then the Committee decided to defer a decision until after they had completed a site visit.  The application will now be decided at the 28th May meeting of the Committee. .

Planning decisions for large projects are compromises and public opinion weighs in the scales.  Currently there are 15 comments supporting the application, 244 against and 8 neutral.

As with all planning application those against are more highly motivated to record objections whereas those in favour just hope it will happen.  Hoping for the right outcome is not a strategy for achieving the right out come .

Reasons for supporting this project:

Below are reasons for supporting this project::

-  The site is in desperate need of regeneration.  It is blot on the townscape and has been for at least two decades.

-  This proposal delivers much needed homes for rent by local people and there is an acute shortage of rented homes in Penzance  - both affordable rent and market rent homes.

-  Allocation of rental properties to local people has been guaranteed by the applicant (unusual)..  .

-  The homes are built to high standard.  They meet national recommended standards for floor space and the construction is highly energy efficient meaning low running costs..

-  There are 11 affordable homes (30% of the 36 homes).  The developer is not using national 'Vacant Building Credit' to limit the affordable obligation as a private developer would. .

-  Nobody else is going spend money improving the public realm around the site.  Public realm improvements are much needed (it is not very pedestrian friendly of a place to linger and enjoy the view out over Mounts Bay. .

-  The improvements to the Gardens help tie together the new development, Jubilee Pool and the end of Penzance Promenade into one enjoyable pedestrian friendly area.

-  The site deserves a large iconic building.  A large building also hides the unattractive rear of Quay St and the  Coinagehall Vean block of flats in the centre of the site..

-  This proposal increases the ecology of the site because St Antony Gdns currently has a lot of tarmac and gravel surfaces (over 50%).

- The Gardens in their current form do not work well and are not used much.  Being surrounded by walls it is not easy to include the Gardens in any route through the area.

-  No alternative private developer would want to avoid creating luxury homes on this site.  No private sector developer would want to prioritize permanent rental homes or avoid the opportunity to minimise the affordable homes obligation by using Vacant Building Credit..

-  The demolition of the Pz Gallery (ex car showrooms) has caused a lot of resentment and negativity towards redevelopment because it was a popular site for public events but the 90 year old building has no economic future and is a blight on the landscape for many.

How to Record Support.

Login in to Cornwall Council’s Planning Website  -  you have to register first to file a comment

Login to planning application PA23/08659 (enter reference in search box)

Click  on ‘comments

Click on ‘public comments’

Follow the guidance and enter your comment (can draft in Word and cut and paste if writing a lot) Be sure to select the ‘Support Box’.. You are commenting as 'Member of the public'.  As a supporter you do not need to check any of the 3 reasons for objecting.

Start text with:

 I support this revised planning application.

Follow this with your preferred reasons using your own words  - the words below care just suggestions but they are “material planning considerations”).  Add anything else you wabnt to say.

 I support this development because.....

-          -  The development provides much needed rental homes of local people.  Penzance has a rental housing crisis.

-        -    The development improves the public spaces in this area which are grim and neglected at present

-          -  The site has long been an eyesore and needs redevelopment.

-          -  I support removal of the café and / I regret the loss of the café but this application

-         -   I do not consider that this development has a significant impact on the Conservation Area.  Every generation is entitled to add quality buildings to the built environment as past generation have.. 

-       -      The proposals make gardens more accessible and inviting.

-        -    This development provides a lot of social benefits are well as space for businesses.

View from the Promenade (CGI)

Further Information. 

Open the ‘Design & Access Statement Part 1’  and also Part 2 (see ‘documents’ section in the online application for additional drawings and documents..

If you don't support this application you will find guidance online for material planning reasons to object. 

Friday 7 July 2023

Standalone air source heat pump hot water systems.

 The Government is promoting the replacement of gas boilers by heat pumps with mixed results and horror stories in the press.  Meanwhile other heat pump solutions that could contribute to the transition from fossil fuels are ignored..  I illustrate the point below with my project to upgrade my hot water system to a high pressure (unvented) system following the demise of my Aga and the desire to improve the performance of newly installed showers.  Dick Cliffe 


My gas powered Aga has been cold since Jun 22 with no prospect of it being turned back on again given the price of gas.  The Aga was pricking my conscience anyway even before the price of gas went through the roof because it was environmentally ‘unfriendly’ and wasteful.  I am currently using an  immersion heater to heat water – it uses about 2.5 units of electricity day as there are only two of us in the house (domestic average 4 units a day). 

High Pressure (unvented) Hot Water Systems.  

I have been planning to install a high pressure (mains pressure) tank to make two new showers work better and get rid of the header tank in the attic.  Logically the new cylinder would be connected to the central heating system boiler to allow the gas boiler to heat the hot water.  This would involve a lot of new plumbing and does nothing positive for the environment because about half of the electricity I use today for water heating is renewable or low carbon electricity so going for gas would be a backward step.


The solution, discovered by accident rather than design, will be the installation of a hot water tank with built in air-source heat pump.  The input air is sucked in via duct from the roof or soffit and the cold air expelled through a second duct to the roof or a grill in the soffit – there is no requirement for an external air source heat pump unit and all of the associated ‘pipery’ . 


This is an idealized installation but it illustrates the principle of a standalone hot water

 tank with built in air source heat pump connected to vents/inlets in the wall.


The system has a COP (excuse the jargon - coefficient of performance) of 3.36 meaning you get 3.36 units (Kwhrs) of heat for each unit of electricity consumed.   I am consuming 912 units/year with the immersion heater and the standalone air-source heat pump tank would take 304 units assuming a COP of 3.0 (manufacturers spec less 10%) giving a saving of  608 units which equates to about  £183/year at 30p per unit of electricity.


There are several manufacturers of these standalone tank systems (Dimplex Edel is one).  A 200 litre tank is approximately £2000  but they range from £1700 - £3000.   For someone like me who was planning to convert to a high pressure (unvented) system anyway, the additional cost of an Edel tank over a good quality high pressure tank is about £1300.  By going for the standalone solution, I avoid the cost of modifying the Central Heating pipe work and control system to heat water using the gas boiler – not something I wanted to do anyway for environmental reasons.   I am expecting to get my money back in 3-4 years after allowing for savings on central heating systems modifications and reduced operating costs. 

Table 1.  Alternative solutions and their running costs.

Hot Water





Eff %

Fuel Cost










Assumed 100% efficient

Air Source HP Tank





608 Kwhrs taken from from air.  COP 3.0 assumed

Gas (CH Boiler)





Boiler ~91% but less efficient when just heating water + pipe losses.

The table shows three alternative solutions considered.  All provide 912 Kwhrs of hot water.

Long Term. 

In the longer term the Government & National Grid can be expected to encourage diversion of electricity demand to off-peak times to reduce peak electricity consumption which is expensive to meet today and which will get more expensive in the future as renewables replace gas generation.  The incentive for customers to move demand (switch off in peak times) will be driven by price - this will suit owners of hot water tanks heated by electricity and by air source heat pump.  The good economics of heat pump powered hot water systems is likely to get even better compared to alternatives.  A second advantage is that installing an air source heat pump hot water tank does not compromise any future investment in air source heat pump central heating  - in many ways it simplifies the plumbing and reduces the total demand on the new system by ~15%. 

Government Policy.  

Standalone hot water systems with built-in heat pumps are common in the USA but are not common here in the UK.  The Government seems to be missing a trick in not encouraging these because heating hot water accounts for around 15-17% of all domestic energy consumption. There will be millions of households where air-source heat pump powered central heating installations are impractical or unaffordable (despite grants) but standalone hot water systems powered by air-source pumps are. 

Health Warning.  

This solution suits my particular circumstances and will not suit everybody.  I was planning to replace my vented system anyway to improve two new bathroom showers and my vented system was not already connected to the CH boiler – a substantial expense to connect to my new tank given the positions of the boiler and the tank.  Links to products are below (these are for information and are not recommendations)

Friday 7 January 2022

Penzance Council - Forthcoming By-Election in East Ward

 There will be an election to fill the Penzance Council vacancy in Penzance East Ward (at least 10 electors have requested an election).  The date of the election had not been decided by Cornwall Council Electoral Services as at 7 Jan 22.  

The timescales for submitting nomination papers once the date is notified ('Notice of Election') is usually very tight.  The Notice of Election has to be issued not later that 25 days before the date of the poll and closing date for nominations is 19 days before date of poll.  There can be just one week to get nominations papers, complete them and return them by hand to Electoral Services at St Austell (Electoral Services do provide an officer to accept papers at St John's Hall but the default is St Austell if you are late getting your papers together).

Eligibility to stand as a candidate is explained here – in brief you can stand if you are on the electoral roll of Penzance Parish, live in Penzance (anywhere in the Parish) or within 3 miles of the Parish boundary or work in the Parish.  You should identify all the ways you qualify in case your circumstances change in the future.  You also need two voters from Penzance East ward to nominate you.  You need to check that you are not disqualified from standing.

If you are standing on behalf of a registered party then the party officials will know the ropes.  There is special guidance for independent candidates here.

Do read the Electoral Commission guidance on eligibility closely - the advice above is just a summary and the eligibility detail matters.

Not sure what Councillors' responsibilities are - well start here.  

Do you need an election leaflet - yes you do because elections can be highly competitive in Penzance.  You can see examples on this site which were prepared for the May 2021 Local Government Elections.  A social media presence is important but older postal voters are very significant in by-elections and many do not use social media.

Website links:

Cornwall Council Town & Parish Council Vacancies (currently showing that Penzance will have an election) 

Cornwall Council Current and Forthcoming Elections (will publish Notice of Election for Penzance East soon).

A Guide to Parish Councillor Responsibilities 

 Penzance East Ward

Sunday 18 April 2021

Heamoor & Gulval Nominations

The candidates for Cornwall Council’s  Ludgvan, Madron, Gulval and Heamoor electoral division are listed below.  The division is greatly enlarged following the Boundary Review. 

Nominations for Cornwall Council.  One vote out of the following candidates:

ELLIOTT,  Simon J,           5 Pendrea Road, Gulval, TR18 3ND                   Conservative Party

GEORGE,  Andrew H,        (address in Cornwall)                                       Liberal Democrats

NICHOLSON, Paul W L,     Avalon, Brea Fm, St Buryan, Pz TR19 6JB        Liberal Party in Cornwall          

RUSSELL Mark A. G.   1 Lower Tremenheere Farm, Ludgvan, Pz TR20 8XG   Green Party


 Ludgvan, Madron, Gulval and Heamoor Division

             From Cornwall Council Inter-active map

The candidates for Heamoor & Gulval ward for Penzance Council are listed below.  The ward’s eastern boundary (see map below) has changed with Eastern Green now included in East Penzance in order to balance the size of the divisions.

Nominations for Penzance Council.  Vote for three of the following candidates:

JACKSON,  Bonny,   11 Mounts Bay Rd, Alverton, Penzance, TR18 4QR              Independent 


REYNOLDS,  Stephen John,    Polmennor Ho. Polmennor Rd, Heamoor, Pz TR20 8UW

                                                                                       Independent Community Candidate          

SLEEMAN,  Brendan James     (address in Cornwall)    Leaflet here 

SORRELL,  Richard Higher      Hellangove Fm, Badgers Cross, Gulval, Pz,  TR20 8XD                                                                                                                                             Liberal Democrat

Penzance Council - Heamoor & Gulval Ward

            From Cornwall Council Inter-active map

Newlyn & Mousehole Nominations

The candidates for Cornwall Council’s Mousehole, Newlyn & St Buryan electoral division are listed below.  The division is greatly enlarged following the Boundary Review. 

Nominations for Cornwall Council.  One vote for one of the following:

BOLITHO,  William Major  (address in Cornwall)                                               Conservative Party

FLINDALL,  Ian Edward      Chypraze Farm, Morvah, Penzance, TR19 7TU            Green Party

MARRINGTON,  Thalia Simone,     4 Merlin Place, Mousehole,  TR19 6SH             Liberal Democrats

 Mousehole, Newlyn & St Buryan Electoral Division

Map from Cornwall Council Inter-active Map

The candidates for Newlyn & Mousehole ward for Penzance Council are listed below.  The ward’s eastern boundary has been moved across The Coombe to include Tolcarne such that all of Newlyn is now included in Newlyn & Mousehole ward.

Nominations for Penzance Council.  Five votes for five of the following:

AXFORD, Dennis John,       9 Quillet Road, Newlyn, Penzance, TR18 5QR      Independent

BOSWORTH,  Susan J,       Mortimore Ho., Old Paul Hill, Newlyn, TR18 5BX   Conservative  

CRAGO,  Rob,                    29 Florence Place, Newlyn, PZ, TR18 5PT (leaflet) Newlyn Independent

DAVIS,  Nigel Ashley,         5 Forbes Close, Newlyn, Penzance, TR18 5EU       Conservative Party

DONALDSON,  Oliver James,  (address in Cornwall)                                     Independent

LAMBOURN,  John Stove,       4 Glenway, Adit Lane, Newlyn,  TR18 5DY        Independent,                                                                                                                             Owner Lugger Ripple

MARRINGTON,  Thalia Simone. 4 Merlin Place, Mousehole, TR19 6SH            Liberal Democrats

RABBITTE,  Michael Thomas,  9 Orchard Court, Penzance, TR18 4SX  (leaflet)   Independent

Penzance Council - Newlyn & Mousehole Ward

Map from Cornwall Council Inter-active Map

Friday 16 April 2021

Promenade Ward - Dick Cliffe

 I am standing for re-election to Penzance Council on 6 May as an independent councillor under the 'Independent Penzance' banner with colleagues keen to make things happen in Penzance.  

I am standing as an independent because the issues at parish level are not party political in nature and national party affiliation can become 'baggage' and at worst result in Penzance Council being used as a pawn/play thing  in higher level political battles. 

My 'manifesto' is summarized in our joint leaflet (front here, back here) but a more detailed version is provided here.  My contact details are provided on the leaflet.  

Promenade Ward – Penzance Council

There are 6 independent councillors standing in Promenade Ward.  Four of us are standing under the 'Independent Penzance' banner as explained in our leaflet.  We are supporting Jim McKenna, the current Cornwall Councillor for Promenade for re-election.  

Karen Baker, one of the current three Heamoor Councillors on the Council has decided to stand as an independent in her own ward (Promenade) as she lives in Alverton.  We learnt Karen was standing for Promenade after the our leaflet went to press otherwise she would have been included in it.  Karen has a long record of working in the community and we support her as an independent  candidate for Promenade Ward.  

You can download our flyer (pdf document) here (front) and here (candidates). 

See the earlier blog post for details of all of the candidates standing in Promenade Ward for Penzance Council.