Councillors were jeered by local residents when they spoke out in favour of a student development being built in Falmouth's town centre on Monday night.

Although the town council's planning committee is recommending amended plans for a 120 student bed development at Fish Strand Hill be refused by Cornwall Council, some members do believe it is an appropriate site for students to live.

Following opposition to the original application, the ridge height has been lowered "to be more sensitive to the adjacent cottages and so more in-keeping with the street itself" and the massing has been "articulated and broken down."

Neighbouring residents, though, are still opposing the scheme and several attended Monday night's meeting to let councillors know. Brendan Fitzgerald said: "This is gross overdevelopment and the design is not in keeping with Falmouth's oldest conservation area."

Sarah Jones added: "This will create a huge increase in noise levels and a potential increase in antisocial behaviour. There is an urgent need for suitable and affordable housing for local people and this site would be ideal for that type of development."

Ward member, Cllr Candy Atherton supported the residents. "This is an inappropriate development - five stories in a conservation area doesn't compute with me," she said. "It's changing the character of the town in an inappropriate way, the design doesn't reflect a conservation area.

"I am also very concerned about the parking (none is proposed). I think 120 students are going to bring an awful lot of kayaks and surfboards and they do not transport themselves."

Cllr Steve Eva provoked a hostile reaction when he said: "I do agree we need houses for local people, but if we do not allow certain buildings like this then they will take over 30 houses. We are in a very difficult position on the town council, there are a lot of these coming up which are totally in appropriate, like the Four Winds and Ocean Bowl.

"I believe this is one of the areas where there could be students. I'd much rather they came out of Club International and came here, rather than walking past 400 houses and walking people up along the way."

He added, though: "I will not be supporting this on the grounds of overdevelopment and the loss of the view from Fish Strand Quay. I cannot turn things down just because it's students, but I can when there are legitimate reasons to do so."

Cllr Rowenna Brock added: "At the risk of making myself as unpopular as Steve Eva, and I appreciate I do not live there, but this would not be a bad site for students, but not on this scale, not on this volume of students. We have to start providing housing for our students because we need to start getting them out of our family homes."

The planning committee voted unanimously to recommend refusal of the amended plans on grounds of overdevelopment, the loss of views from Fish Strand Quay and the scheme would not be in keeping with the conservation area.