The student accommodation planned for the Ocean Bowl site would tower over neighbouring residents and create Falmouth's very own Berlin Wall, dividing the town into two, councillors were told at a public meeting last night.

Members of Cornwall Council's central area planning committee were left in no doubt as to how local residents feel about the scheme, which would seen an additional 249 student beds created in an area that is already "blighted" by the nearby Maritime Studios.

Around 80 people attended the meeting which was held so councillors could hear people's opinions of the scheme before they debate it and determine the application at their meeting to be held on October 24 in St Austell.

One of the first to speak was Alan Weekes, who lives in Pendennis Rise, who said students would be able to look straight into his lounge and bedroom. He added: "It's more like a Russian prison camp than a student block. Tower blocks are completely unknown in this area."

He went on: "Students are nocturnal. They walk past our house at four or five in the morning, their voices raised. They are bad neighbours and the reason they are bad neighbours is because they have never been neighbours before, they have lived with their parents."

Stuart Martin, born and bred in Falmouth, said the development would be like the Berlin Wall. "The scale will be overbearing on residents' properties and will obscure views over the world famous natural harbour," he said. "It will completely over-power nearby properties.

"East and West Germany was divided by the Berlin Wall. To allow this development to go head would create our own Berlin Wall - it will divide the best features of Falmouth. I ask you to save our Falmouth."

Sue Martin's 83-year-old father lives in Pendennis Rise and ever since Maritime Studios was built, he doesn't unlock his door day or night. "When he moved in we were thrilled because we felt he was moving into a great retirement home," she said.

"We are not opposed to students, but it's the perception for my dad. He feels insecure ever since Maritime Studios was built. The mix of retired people who want one sort of life with students who want another sort of life is just wrong.

"We have become a uni town by default. I am not saying this facility is not needed, it is, it's just in the wrong place. We as residents would feel let down by a planning committee that let this through."

Estelle Keating, who lives 25 metres from Maritime Studios with her young family, added: "This development is totally overbearing, it's hideous and is something you would see in inner city Bristol. It will cause animosity between residents and students. If we don't take control of our town it will be ruined.

"If this land is going to be developed, it should be for the people of Falmouth. Students could be located elsewhere. It will affect the whole atmosphere for Falmouth and be like the Berlin Wall."

Concerns were also raised about the lack of parking spaces and the impact an additional 200 or more cars would have on an area already crammed with vehicles; and whether the sewerage system could cope with the extra demand. It was also said that the proposals should not include a gym, cinema and cafe as students should be encouraged to support local businesses.

A&P Falmouth's managing director, Gerald Pitts, and port operations' director, Drystan Jones, also attended the meeting. Mr Jones said the company is objecting to residential development on the site as it could impact on the docks' future and plans to possibly re-open the rail line into the docks.

Over 200 people have so far responded to the planning application, PA16/05447, on Cornwall Council's website. The agenda, containing the case officer's recommendation, will be available online at least five days before the planning meeting on October 24.