Falmouth councillors have done an about turn and are now supporting plans to create a student village on the outskirts of Penryn in an effort to protect land in their town from being further developed for student accommodation.

When the plans for Penvose village went before Falmouth's planning committee in February, councillors opposed them due to the perceived flood risks, loss of view from the highway, the loss of high grade agricultural land and it was also felt the application was not necessary and that the need for accommodation should be reviewed after the Penryn campus extension development for 1,100 beds had been provided.

Councillors were re-consulted on the scheme this week after additional environmental statements were provided by the developers, Ocean Reach (Penryn) Ltd. This gave councillors the chance to reconsider their stance, particularly following the inspector's ruling on the Ocean Bowl development.

Councillor Steve Eva said: "My view as a town councillor has changed because of the decision on Ocean Bowl. I just do not believe Falmouth can give up any more land to build blocks of student accommodation.

"If they have to build some, I know it should be on campus, but if they are not going to build it on campus I would rather they build it out of Falmouth. As soon as they got their raised numbers, they said they were not going to build anything on campus."

He added: "We are talking about 2,500 (extra) students going somewhere. I would rather they were in one place than take over ten Ocean Bowls in Falmouth - that is what we are talking about - ten times Ocean Bowl."

Councillor Mathew McCarthy added: "I think this is the most constructive and positive plan we have in front of us to deal with the student numbers in the area. We should back it 100 per cent as there is nothing better on the horizon."

Councillor Roger Bonney, however, wanted to see the council stick by its original recommendation as he claimed the infrastructure is not in place to cope with the development.

The majority of the planning committee voted to recommend the plans be approved, but Mr Bonney voted against the recommendation and chairman, Alan Jewell, abstained.

*The team behind the proposed Penvose Student Village development between Treluswell and Treliever roundabouts, have reiterated their claim that the site is the only viable option to growing student numbers in the area.

The statement comes after Cornwall Council’s principal planning officer, Matthew Williams, said at planning inquiry that the proposed Ocean Bowl development would not free up local housing.

Mark Dawes, from CAD Architects, who is working with Ocean Reach, said: “We have a situation now where we have a number of proposed student accommodation going to appeal after being initially rejected.

“When you look at those schemes together then Mr Williams is correct, they will have very little impact on freeing up housing stock for local people.

“However, now the Ocean Bowl site has been approved by the planning inspectorate it certainly increases the chances of the other sites in appeal being approved due to no current alternative provision.

“These sites have created lots of concern amongst the public in Falmouth and Penryn, and being in town the issues that people are already experiencing, such as parking and antisocial behaviour, will only continue due to the lack uncertainty."