A plan to redevelop the Coinagehall Street area of Penzance has been nothing but contentious, with protest and opposition at the proposal to demolish PZ Gallery and other buildings on the seafront to create a development of 36 homes and seven businesses alongside the redevelopment of St Anthony Gardens.

However, many other residents support the scheme by Cornwall Council’s arm’s-length development company, Treveth.

An amended plan, which reduced the scale and massing of the site, came before the council’s west sub-area planning committee in April and was deferred to allow councillors to visit the location near the town’s celebrated art deco Jubilee Pool. The application comes back before the committee next week and is recommended for approval.

Almost 300 members of the public have commented on the scheme on the council’s online planning register with those against citing its design and the “overbearing size” of new buildings, harm to the conservation area and concerns about a loss of parking and a small provision of social housing. Penzance Town Council has also opposed the plan.

However, those in favour argue that the development would massively improve an eyesore in Penzance, will offer primary residences for people in the town (with no holiday lets or second homes) and will lead to much-needed economic regeneration.

Now a group of architects in Penzance have likened the redesign of St Anthony Gardens to a “path of destruction”. Tamsin Bond, Diane Lea, John Whitehouse and John Moreland, joint chair of Penzance Civic Society, have spoken out about what they say is a crude redesign of the historic gardens, which have fallen into neglect in recent time and attract anti-social behaviour.

They have dubbed the proposed new pathway the “zig-zag path of destruction”. Mr Moreland said: “It destroys the historic character of the garden.

The zig-zag path was put in because the proposed restaurant compromised existing footpaths. Now the restaurant has been dropped the zig-zag path is therefore no longer required.

“The crazy path of destruction is totally unnecessary now and a complete waste of public money. They should instead be focused on maximising the existing lawn area for children to play, for families to picnic and to sunbathe, outdoor yoga classes, etc.”

Emma Rodgers, senior development manager at Treveth, said: “The design of the path is in order to provide access for all users including wheeled users, which is currently impossible in the gardens as you must negotiate steps to travel from one side of the gardens to the other.

“There is an entire storey’s difference between Coinagehall Street and Battery Road and this design is the only way in which you can get a slope in across the site that is compliant with current regulations, and does not further remove or impact historic features within the gardens that have now been retained as a result of the removal of the Pavilion building.

“To exclude some users from being able to enjoy the gardens fully and not design them in a way that is inclusive to all and in line with current regulations would be extremely bad practice, even more so within a government funded scheme.”

At the recent site meeting, committee members raised concerns that the proposed pedestrianised area would lead to issues with delivery vehicles being unable to turn in the area. Although the proposed development would block one view of St Mary’s Church, it was noted there were several other places along the seafront where the church was prominent.

The west sub-area planning committee will make a decision at County Hall / Lys Kernow in Truro on Tuesday, May 28.