Plans for a 50 per cent increase in student numbers at the Penryn Campus have been submitted to Cornwall Council by the campus management company FX Plus.

However angry locals have already raised concerns that the university has not taken enough action in dealing with current problems with housing, parking, and disturbance.

The company is applying to raise a cap on the number of students it can take in, from the 5,000 it was allowed in a planning application from 2009, up to 7,500.

In a letter by planing agents Terence O'Rourke on behalf of FX Plus, planning officers were told the campus needs to increase its allowed number of students as the two universities' "enhanced reputation" has led them to become more popular, and they could soon have to turn students away due to hitting maximum capacity.

The letter states that a failure to expand could cost the universities as they lose revenue through students choosing to study elsewhere, which could also lead to the loss of jobs, a shortfall in skills in the local labour market, and mean "expenditure in local shops and services will plateau."

It also states that Cornwall is an "education cold spot" and not expanding the campus "could slow the ability of the universities to work towards increasing wider participation in higher education, which will assist in achieving social mobility."

However locals have taken to the Cornwall Council planning website to object to the proposal, with 32 comments already featuring concerns over parking, potential antisocial behaviour, and the impact on housing for residents.

Jody Van Vestraut wrote: "Whilst the university and the students are a positive for Falmouth, the numbers are not. Your own figures state that the population of Falmouth and Penryn is 33,000. With an increase in students to 7,500, I make that 23 per cent of the population or nearly one in four residents.

"Students may contribute to the local economy, but they do not contribute to the funding of our local services. This increase is a step too far."

Roger Keast said: "My main concerns and hence my objection to an increase in student numbers to 7,500 relates to the inadequate residential facilities, access to medical services and infrastructure to house such a number of students.

"Additionally, the associated parking issue which causes problems within Penryn at the present student level will only be exacerbated if numbers increase.

"Whilst I have always been pro-university numbers need to be kept to a sensible level otherwise I feel it is detrimental to both the local community and students alike."

Robert John Parkyn wrote: "Until the university can provide accommodation on campus for the current students the number should not increase. The residents of Falmouth are finding it hard to access affordable accommodation."

And Harriet Knowles added: "There is an optimum balance for a university in a town like Falmouth, this balance has been reached."

The application outlines a "phased approach" to the increase, which it said should be capped at 6,250 until an additional 940 student bed spaces are created - including 313 recently secured on campus and through head leases in the towns.

It states after this it is "reasonable to assume" that additional purpose-built private sector accommodation could provide around 1,500 new units so the campus can grow incrementally up to 7,500 students.

The university has said it is working on the basis of "0.75 new bed spaces per additional student" - or three extra beds per four extra students - as it assumes some will live at home or commute from other areas.

The letter concludes: "The proposal will enable the universities to continue to deliver considerable educational and associated economic benefits... and to cater for the growing demand from students to study at each institution at Penryn Campus.

"The growth of the universities will not only sustain and contribute to further economic growth locally within Penryn and Falmouth, but also within Cornwall and the south west as a whole."