UPDATE: A bid to build a new housing development on agricultural land which currently acts as a “green buffer” between Falmouth and Budock Water have been refused by Cornwall councillors, despite being recommended for approval.

Midas Commercial Developments has applied for outline planning permission for the development of up to 153 new homes, estate roads and an area of open space on the land off Bickland Water Road.

Members of Cornwall Council’s west sub-area planning committee will debate the project today, Monday (February 10) when planning officer Hollie Nicholls will urge them to approve it subject to conditions and the company entering into a legally-binding agreement to secure a number of demands.

These include 38.5 per cent of the development being affordable, contributions towards highway and education improvement, travel plan measures and the transfer of a neighbouring field to Falmouth Town Council for use as a cemetery.

The scheme is opposed by both Budock Parish Council and Falmouth Town Council who object to the loss of grade two agricultural land and have concerns over highway safety. Budock councillors also claim there is no need for more houses within the parish and there is a need to retain the “buffer zone.”

English Heritage also has concerns over the impact the development would have on the grade II listed St Budock Church. Fifteen letters of objection have also been received by Cornwall Council and two in support.

In her report to councillors, Ms Nicholls addresses the concerns raised by objectors and says they do not justify the application being refused.

She says: “The landform means the impact of the development on the character of the area would be very limited and the locally important distinction between the urban area of Falmouth and the village of Budock Water would be preserved.”

In relation to the impact of the proposed development upon the church she added: “It is commonplace for residential development to surround churchyards even where the host church is a listed building and it would be no difference in this instance.”

The loss of the grade II agricultural land is almost deemed acceptable.

She said: “It is inevitable that if Falmouth is to expand to meet its needs for future generations, that best and most versatile land would be lost to some extent,” says Ms Nicholls.