We are delighted to announce that a historic devolution deal to transfer the freehold of the former Ships & Castles leisure centre building and the wider Pendennis Headland from Cornwall Council to Falmouth Town Council, for £1 has been completed.
Following local community interest since the closure of the leisure centre last year, Cornwall Council entered discussions with Falmouth Town Council regarding the future of the building, and the wider Pendennis Headland. Partners have been working to secure the smooth transition of the site for the benefit of the local community since Cornwall Council’s cabinet unanimously voted to transfer the freehold of the land to Falmouth Town Council for £1.
Pendennis headland is one of Cornwall’s historic jewels, rich in military history spanning over 450 years through successive periods of threat that have seen improvements to the site’s fortifications. In more recent times, the headland has become home to the Falmouth HM Coastguard station, critical to marine safety in much of the northeast Atlantic. The woods and green spaces that make up most of the headland 30+ hectares are home to diverse wildlife and are a favourite with locals, as is the stunning Pendennis Point where the popular carpark will also transfer to Falmouth Town Council.
Carol Mould, portfolio holder for neighbourhoods at Cornwall Council, said: “Transferring appropriate services and sites into community control is a key part of this deal and demonstrates the Council’s commitment towards enabling vibrant, safe and supportive communities.“Everyone has been working very hard behind the scenes to transfer ownership of this locally important beautiful part of Cornwall to Falmouth Town Council for the benefit of the community. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for the site.”
Alongside Cornwall Council’s devolution team, Falmouth Town Council has also been working closely with the Pendennis Leisure charity to ensure the former swimming pool remains at the heart of the deal for the long-term benefit of the local community. As part of the devolution deal, the charity is entering into a 125 year lease with Falmouth Town Council for the Ships & Castles site. While Pendennis Leisure are looking to reopen the centre as a community centre in the short term, their long-term ambition remains to build a 25m pool and multifunctional activity centre on the site.
Mayor Kirstie Edwards, on behalf of Falmouth Town Council, said, “Last year, following the closure of the Ships and Castles leisure centre and the uncertainty regarding the future of the wider Pendennis Headland, Falmouth Town Council were given a very clear mandate by the people of Falmouth to secure the beautiful Pendennis Headland and its heritage for the benefit of all, for ever. Today we are delighted to say that we have achieved this. Our sincere thanks go to everyone who has worked so hard on this deal on behalf of the community of Falmouth.”
Gemma Adams, Pendennis Leisure trustee said, “We are thrilled to finally be able to say that the community has secured the headland for good. It is a historic moment, and we are massively grateful to the teams in Falmouth and Cornwall Councils who have made this possible. Even though the old swimming pool is no longer functional, we will be opening the doors again as soon as possible for a wide range of other community uses and are focused on getting Falmouth the leisure facility it needs and deserves for the long term.”
Cornwall Council Leader Councillor Leader Taylor said, “I always wanted a community-led solution for this site and am delighted with the partnership that’s made this devolution happen.”
Councillor Jude Robinson, who, as chair of Falmouth Town Council’s Finance & General Purpose committee, played a key role in securing the final deal said, “I’m relieved and proud that we’ve shown what can be achieved through effective partnership working. We believe in Pendennis Leisure’s vision of a new pool and activity centre for the people of Falmouth and the surrounding areas and will do all we can to help them.”