Plan met with 'optimism'
PLANS for the multimillion- pound refurbishment of a Penzance landmark have been met with quiet optimism in the town.
The public were invited to view the proposals for St John's Hall this week, which include moving the town's public library, register office and one stop shop all under one roof.
Despite many agreeing that a £5.6 million cash injection should be celebrated, others were worried about some details of the major overhaul.
"The opportunity to refurbish the building is brilliant for the town," said Brenda Lemon, farmers' market coordinator, who added that the weekly food event was keen to thrash out improved conditions for its stallholders.
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"If we are invited to go back we hope there will be outside electric and water points and still at a reasonable rent."
The market group has suggested it should be set up at the bottom of the St John's Hall car park during dry weather, while the building works are under way, but there is still a question mark over where the stalls will go in wet weather.
This latest investment in the Alverton Street venue is seen by many as Cornwall Council finally pushing money towards Penzance after ignoring the town for years.
But old battle lines were brought up again when visitors to this week's event noticed that two ideas for the facade of the hall had been labelled Option A and Option B – reigniting memories of the divisive failed attempt to revamp Penzance harbour.
"Calling something Option A, how insensitive is that," said one woman as she looked over the plans.
"I think it is important to spend money on a building like this which has been neglected and is a very important statement for the town.
"But this public event is all hype to make everyone feel that they have been included – this is not a consultation, this is something that has already been decided."
A spokesperson for Cornwall Council's planning team said: "This is an information day to gauge people's views.
"We will then take these away and possibly make adjustments to the plans."
Work is expected to begin on the listed building in March next year.
The newly refurbished building would be scheduled to open 12 months later.
A second public event to view the plans is being held at St John's Hall on Saturday, August 10 between 9am and 12.30pm.
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