PLANNERS have had their say on what could happen to the redundant St Saviours Church on Fore Street, Polruan, and suggestions include turning it into a ‘champing’ site.

Giving pre-application advice, principal development officer George Shirley said there would be a strong preference for the building to be retained and converted.

Whilst it is not listed, it represents a historic building in the Polruan Conservation Area with both historic and cultural interest. If demolition was being considered, then the applicants would need to demonstrate significant public benefits to outweigh such harm.

The applicant, Lanteglos by Fowey Parochial Church Council, was told that alternative community uses should initially be explored – the parish council have indicated they would welcome this.

But if the church council was minded to propose a private use, then it would need to be considered against the Local Plan which states that community facilities should, wherever possible, be retained and new ones supported.

The Historic Environment Officer commented that alternative uses for a former church should be low-impact such as a community building, museum, gallery or offices which will retain more of a church’s feature without too much intervention.

Champing was also suggested which enables visitors to camp in historic churches overnight – the Landmark Trust provides specialist holiday accommodation in historic buildings.

If it could be evidenced that community use was not viable, then there may be scope for the residential development of the building with a sensitive conversion project.