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The planning application was withdrawn initially because of objections to the proposed café in the Gardens and the loss of too many of the man-made features (walls and arches).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.