Falmouth’s Old Penwerris School could soon be reopened for education with an application to turn it into a nursery, plus three flats.
Until 14 years ago the Victorian building in Penwerris Lane was used as a Church of England primary school for 32 children.
It then operated as a privately run Montessori School, followed by the Bray Theatre Company using the site for stage rehearsals and set building.
Five years ago, however, the building was boarded up and since then has become a “blight to the area” according to documents supporting the planning application from Tony Elliott-Cannon Associates Ltd.
It is claimed that the building has attracted “considerable vandalism, illegal occupants” and was “a place where drug use was prevalent”, with incidents of vandalism, break-ins and burglary.
It is alleged that in 2011 the building was broken into and lived in by a group of squatters until January 2012, while in the summer of 2013 “much drug evidence” was found, including 30 used needles.
The applicants bought the building in August last year and have said the nursery school would be available for use by the neighbouring St Michael’s & All Angels Church’s children’s Sunday school.
The proposal hopes to create vehicular access for predominantly “drop-off” type parking by building a ramp down onto the existing playground from Penwerris Lane.
One parking space per flat is proposed, with another for the management flat for the nursery school owners and five for school clients or use of the church for weekend services.
It is planned to only remove the 10.2 metre breeze block section of the stone wall, rather than remove the end section of the stone.
The applicants claim it would not be “economically viable” to restore the building to 100 per cent school use but by turning part of it into three flats – one to be lived in by the nursery school manager – it would be.
It is added: “This Victorian building, if left to deteriorate further, would ultimately need to be demolished and any future alternative owner of the land would be very tempted to apply for the building of 12 flats on the land similar in ‘style’ to Penwerris Court which is the eight flat modern unit development to the north east of the site.”
Falmouth Town Council is set to offer no objections on Monday, believing it would “enhance a derelict building”.