EVEN before the formal application for 154 houses to be built on the western edge of Falmouth has been submitted, emotions are running high about the proposal.

Midas Commercial Developments Ltd held a pre-planning application consultation on Monday at Falmouth Football Club to garner public opinion on the development.

The homes, to include open market and 40 per cent affordable, will be built on almost four hectares of land to the west of Bickland Water Road, near the Falmouth Business Park and where Midas has already been given permission to build industrial units.

Victoria Selley from Budock Water said: “We moved here because the last place we lived lost its village community.

“Budock Water has a right to maintain its own identity.”

Dan Meek, project architect with CSA Architects, explained that the proposal would be part of Cornwall Council’s plans to build a predicted 3,500 homes in the area by 2030.

He said: “The aim is to build a mix of one and two bedroom apartments and two to four bedroom houses, with public open space at the entrance, a sympathetic design to keep views of church, highway improvements near Mongleath Road, bus stops, and the development of a historic pedestrian route running from the entrance of the site to St Budock Church.”

Another resident from Longfield, Clare Burt, was worried about the loss of open space and said: “I'm concerned that the green belt behind my house will be next, but hope not because it is full of wildlife such as bats, hedgehogs, foxes, owls and the occasional buzzard.

“At this rate Falmouth, Budock and Penryn will become one.”

Steve Russell, Midas development director, said the company had worked in Cornwall for more than 30 years, employing a number of local people and that the business realised the need to be sympathetic, adding: “We feel very much a part of the community.”

However, UKIP representative for Budock Water, Constantine, and Mawnan Smith, Lomond Handley described the plans as a “disaster.” She said: “This is the rape of our countryside – we should make as much use of brownfield sites instead.

“We need strong resident associations, which can be very effective in opposing and forcing councillors and developers to listen to people views.”

Justin Dodge, managing director of CSA Architects confirmed that a part of Bickland Water Road will be narrowed to encourage speed reduction and the building of a pedestrian crossing, with £3,000 per dwelling to be paid as a highways contribution.

Falmouth Town Council had also earmarked nearby land to extend the town cemetery, while there is also future potential for up to 200 properties on land to the south of the current site.

If this stage of the application is successful it could still be more than a year before building work begins.