A small yet determined group of protestors braved a blustery Falmouth seafront this morning (9/9) as they picketed attendees of a Falmouth University reception at the Royal Duchy Hotel.

Members of protest group Save Our Falmouth stood outside both entrances to the hotel, where university chancellor and vice chancellor Dawn French and Anne Carlisle were expected to meet local dignitaries and representatives from other educational establishments for lunch.

The group claimed it was at the hotel to show solidarity with local residents who are concerned about plans to expand the university's Penryn Campus.

Spokesperson Pam Cowan said: "The whole situation [for housing students] has got completely out of hand and many local people are at the receiving end of instances of unacceptable levels of noise, parking problems and issues of refuse strewn around streets and roads. In addition many are suffering from stress as a number of developers are applying for planning permission to build massive buildings with no car parking near them."

She also said that the campaigners had written to the vice chancellor on July 12, asking her to receive a petition of more than 2,600 signatures against the university's expansion handed in with a local councillor in front of the press, but were still to receive a reply to arrange a date.

She added: "We are very angry because the university is expanding, as one of the students said to us it's a beast and it's out of control."

The protestors also claimed that the plans all appeared to have been pre-determined, and that there had not been any public consultation from Cornwall Council - although the university has held public consultations and the council's planning process is open to public comment as usual.

One said: "The consultations down in town were held by the university, how will they act on that? The council doesn't seem to hold any regard for the community."

While the protestors were talking to the Packet, several passing cars honked their horns in support, although one couple leaving the hotel did tell them to "grow up and go home."

Mr Hillier told the Packet that the university had invited campaigners to hand the petition in to main reception so it could be distributed to Falmouth University, the University of Exeter, and FX Plus, and they had declined the invitation. He added: "If we had received a petition we would have responded to that."

He said of the protest: "It's inappropriate because we have got a lot of people, a lot of head teachers coming and a lot of councillors coming.

"Today is an opportunity for the university to meet and chat informally with people from across Cornwall... it doesn't seem like an appropriate time to express whatever [the protestors] concerns may be."