Plans by the NHS to potentially reclassify areas such as Budock and Mabe as urban rather than rural could harm Penryn Surgery's ability to serve patients, councillors have heard.

A representative of Penryn surgery also told them that any health centre at the top of Penryn would mean the closure of the current surgery building.

NHS England has asked Penryn Town Council for a view on plans to draw a boundary setting out 'controlled localities' in the area around the town and Falmouth, and councillors discussed the plans on Monday, when they also heard representations from a Penryn Surgery representative.

According to the NHS controlled localities are areas that are "rural in character," and allow surgeries to dispense medicines to patients so residents do not have to make long trips to their nearest pharmacy. Falmouth and Penryn are currently non-controlled areas whereas the surrounding villages are controlled, but the last review of these designation was made in 1990, and no clear boundaries were set out at that time.

Ryan Ohly, the surgery's business manager, told councillors that changing the designation would have a "big knock-on effect" on the surgery and would also affect its branches in Stithians and Mawnan, as well as potentially affecting the revenue for the surgery's pharmacies in Penryn.

He said the surgery currently delivers prescriptions for collection from Mabe shop, but would not be able to if the designation changed, meaning patients would have to travel to Penryn or Falmouth instead.

He added: "It has no effect on the NHS: It doesn't save them any money, or make them any money.

"It's of no benefit to them, it would be a disadvantage to us. The NHS have proved on many occasions they don't really listen to what the patients want."

Mr Ohly said he had asked why the NHS wanted to change the system, and that the service wants to put a pharmacy at Asda, but said that would be detrimental to the surgery. He then asked the council for a letter recommending that the villages remain as a rural area.

Councillors asked whether changing the boundaries would mean Asda would be able to run a pharmacy - something which has always been opposed by the surgery and the town - and were told it would "open the door."

When they asked about plans to set up a surgery at the new housing estate at Kernick, they were told that while developers had offered a health centre, it had not been discussed with the surgery. Mr Ohly added that a health centre at the top of the hill would mean the closure of the town centre surgery, although it would still be able to run a doctor service out of consulting rooms at the former Hendra pharmacy.

Councillor Mark Snowdon said that the "landscape has changed" since the last consultation, with Budock and Mabe beginning to merge with Falmouth and Penryn as new housing developments spring up.

And councillor John Langan said the surgery needed top start being proactive about selling its site or splitting across two sites as "you can't fit your services there," adding that if there was a dispensary at Asda, people from Mabe "could walk down there."

Mr Ohly agreed that the villages were coming closer, but said the surgery needed them to remain controlled to keep its business going "so we can keep providing the services we can," and told Mr Langan that the surgery would move "if there was a site."

Mr Langan told councillors they would "struggle" to designate Mabe as rural. He also said the surgery was a "cash cow," although it gave good service to the town, and there "needs to be changes."

He said: "They don't need to move the whole thing, they need to split the site," although Mr Ohly had said any move would require selling the current site to raise money.

It was also noted that people at the top of the town and in Mabe might find a pharmacy at Asda easier to use, and moving the surgery could alleviate some parking issues in the town centre.

The council voted to support the surgery's stance, while councillor Snowdon and Langan voted against.