The Greenbank Gardens under threat
How to make your views known to developers, planners and councillors
How to contact the Save our Foreshores group

Links to information about the 2008-2009 Greenbank Hotel plans for an apartment development to the north of the hotel

Previous planning application by the Greenbank Hotel for an apartment development


On 23rd September 2015 Cornwall Council submitted a planning application for construction of a new access ramp.

Threat to Greenbank Gardens

The Greenbank Hotel owns a small triangle of land which forms part of the Greenbank Public Gardens, the majority of which is Council-owned. In 1910 the Greenbank Hotel leased this small plot of land to Falmouth Town Council for 99 years. The exact lease conditions are not known, however since 1910 the area has always been maintained by the civic authorities, currently by Cornwall Council, even after the lease expiry in 2009.

Greenbank Gardens is a mainly grassed area, with an excellent view of the harbour, and public access down to the beach below. It is a popular picnic and sunbathing spot in summer, and is widely used by local families, children and adults, some of whom swim off the beach. It is also used by disabled people in wheelchairs and mobility scooters and by parents with children in buggies.

The lease from the hotel for this small area expired in September 2009 and despite reminders by local people, the council did not pursue a further lease. The Greenbank Hotel has said they need to use that part of the garden and wish to claim their land back. It is unknown what use the Greenbank Hotel wishes to make of this piece of land.

Unfortunately the small part of the garden owned by the Hotel includes the only road, wheelchair, buggy or pushchair usable entrance to the public park. There is another entrance, but it is via steep steps down from the raised roadway.

The entrance path seen here, is also the only practical way the Council can get lawnmowers and other equipment into the gardens to maintain them - the central red barrier is removable to allow this. The small area including this entrance is the section owned by the Greenbank Hotel.

As can be seen from the height of the roadway wall in the photograph below, any attempt to create a new vehicular or even a wheelchair/buggy usable access ramp within the Council-owned section would involve a long ramp down from the raised roadway, and be very expensive.

The photos above were taken in mid-November, and even then there were users of the Gardens. In summer they are widely used, being the only public amenity open space in the whole town to have clear views of the harbour.

The Town Council's own 2009-2014 '5-year Falmouth & Penryn Community Plan' states

"...One challenge that we cannot avoid is that of protecting our environment and providing for the less mobile, fit, able or anyone disadvantaged"


"...Safeguard waterside sites for maritime use, and protect and enhance public access to the shoreline"


".... Provide greater access to parks and open spaces with facilities designed for the needs of the elderly and less mobile".

If the present level access through the "hotel's triangle" is lost it will, apart from making access for wheelchairs and mobility scooters impossible, also make it very difficult for the Council to continue to properly maintain the remainder of the gardens. This ultimately could lead to the loss of the entire waterfront public garden.

We believe that the only way through this difficulty is for the Council to compulsorily purchase the hotels' part of the garden. This would not prevent the hotel from continuing to use it for wedding photographs and have it maintained by the council. Most importantly it would secure it for the continued use of residents and tourists alike - this is the only public amenity space with direct water frontage on the entire "harbour" side of Falmouth town.

The dark green section and the path in the plan above represent the triangle of land owned by the Greenbank Hotel

If you feel that retaining the only piece of garden with waterfront access left on this side of town is important to you and your children, and is of ongoing value to the town and tourism, please let your councillors and planners know. You can do this either by sending a letter by post or through this web site by simply writing your email using the "How to make your views known" facility. It is also important to tell anyone that hasn't access to a computer to contact their councillors if they wish to retain these gardens.

There is a matter of urgency, as we understand the council budgets are to be set imminently.


The 'West Briton' on 10th November covered the issue: although there were minor errors in the lease dates quoted the substance of the article was good, stating "...At the moment negotiations between Cornwall council and the Greenbank Hotel have failed to reach a resolution, and the matter is headed for county court".

The article also quotes Paul Woodhead of Cornwall Council as describing the process of creating an alternative access as "... Technically it would be fairly straightforward, but it would be very expensive, and would impact considerably on the grounds available"

On November 9th the 'Falmouth Packet' covered the story, focusing on the failure of Cornwall Council to realise the lease had expired two years ago.

The small section of grass and the path seen in the accompanying photograph is the area owned by the Greenbank Hotel, which forms the only vehicular and disabled access to the rest of the Greenbank Gardens.

And finally, a photo of Greenbank Gardens is shown on the "About Falmouth" page of the Town Council's own website