TURNING an empty Penryn shop into residential accommodation would "harm the vitality of the town centre", planners have ruled.
Mrs L Kitchen had applied to Cornwall Council for consent to use the ground floor of the Higher Market Street property as an extension to the flat on the first floor.
The planning committee narrowly refused the application, the motion being carried on the chairman's casting vote.
Penryn Town Council had opposed the plan, saying it believed demand for such units would increase with initiatives to regenerate the town centre.
Mrs Kitchen submitted documents to demonstrate that keeping the property as a shop was not financially viable, as its rental return was so low.
Case officer Dan Mitchell had recommended approval, saying the likelihood of it being used as a shop was "extremely slim. It would be preferable to see an active use, even if it is residential, rather than an empty shop unit."