The planning inspectorate has approved plans to build accommodation for 190 students on the site of the former Ocean Bowl in Falmouth following a successful appeal by developers.

Last week at a public hearing at Falmouth Rugby Club, Rengen Developments stated its case against a planning decision by Cornwall Council not to allow the four storey project to go ahead, due to the impact on the setting of Pendennis Castle and on residents of nearby roads.

However today (15/11) planning inspector Neil Pope decided to allow the developers' appeal, paving the way for the new student blocks, which will also include a reception, gym, and study rooms, infrastructure and landscaping.

He concluded that the harm caused by the development did not outweigh its public benefits, and developing local plans from Falmouth and Cornwall Councils which set out sites for student development - not including Ocean Bowl - did not carry significant weight to affect the outcome of the appeal.

Mr Pope agreed with the developers over benefits of the site such as meeting a current need for purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) and a wider choice for students, and also free up existing houses in town used by students. Cornwall Council had said these two benefits were contradictory and said there it did not have any aim of removing students from current housing stock.

He also agreed with claims the construction would provide short term economic benefits, and the completed accommodation would create work in local businesses while supporting the universities' "growth aspirations and high value job creation."

And he said the effect of the four storey blocks on the setting of nearby heritage assets would be "less than substantial" or neutral, and dismissed concerns from residents about the potential for antisocial behaviour from students by saying: "Not all students behave in this way and anti-social behaviour is not limited to the student population."

He added that careful management by the site operator and the proximity of public transport "would deter students from bringing cars to the site and parking in the surrounding streets."

Among conditions Mr Pope recommended be attached to any planning consent were that the site have a "24 hour on-site management presence" and "the retention of the site in single ownership with the buildings only occupied by students."

He concluded: "I recognise that many interested parties will be disappointed by my decision. I do not set aside lightly these concerns and fears but having objectively assessed all of the evidence before me there is greater strength in the argument for granting permission."

One Pendennis Rise resident, Sue Lewis, said of the decision: "Money talks and I have no faith in democracy."

Residents' campaign group Save Our Falmouth said in a statement it was "extremely disappointed" with the result.

A spokesperson said: "It is conspicuously noted that within the inspector's report, mention was made of the fact that the Development Plan Document was still in the process of being legally adopted and therefore was not a major consideration.

"In addition, at the Appeal Hearing it was made quite clear by a gentleman involved with the Neighbourhood Plan that it would not be available  for referendum until the Spring of 2018.

"We would therefore urge all those involved in producing the Neighbourhood Plan to bring this forward without delay.

"We have a further three appeals hearings pending and Save our Falmouth would urge as many people as possible to attend each one.  We have to make our presence felt and fight on."

Local MP Sarah Newton said: "I am very disappointed. I have always felt the best place for new student accomodation is on or near the campus not in the town."