Cornwall Councillors have agreed to spend up to a reported £1 million to buy two houses at Treliever near Penryn as part of plans to expand the Penryn Campus.

At a meeting of the council cabinet last week, members voted to acquire the two properties - subject to satisfactory completion of commercial and legal terms - to save the current residents from 'planning blight' associated with plans for a new creative village, and to prevent future landowners holding the sites to 'ransom'.

The Cornwall Councillor for Mabe, Peter Williams, asked the council chairman Adam Paynter to read out a letter from adjacent landowner John Tozer, who Mr Williams said had been "bullied into making a decision he doesn't want to make."

Mr Paynter said Mr Tozer's land was not the subject of discussion, and he was "not alone... in every town and certain villages where land has been allocated, and it does put pressure on the land owners."

He added that the process was "no different to any we have had across Cornwall," but "we are not looking at purchasing his site at the moment."

Councillor Andrew Mitchell interjected that he "cannot believe that any of our officers are 'bullying,'" adding "if Mr Tozer believes that's the case he needs to go through a process of appealing."

Mr Paynter also read out a statement from Penryn councillor Mary May who asked what time frame the cabinet was putting on the scheme, which she said would be "very expensive" and would "open the floodgate" for the nearby proposed student village. Instead she asked the council to pursue plans to build accommodation on the campus.

Councillor John Fitter questioned the wisdom of building on grade two agricultural land, which runs contrary to the government's own planning guidelines.

He added: "We're told we blighted this land... and we have a duty of care to the people who have properties on it.

"In that case, do we have a duty of care to the other places throughout the duchy where we have drawn these lines?"

And Councillor John Dyer, who suggested the purchase would cost £1 million, said the difference between buying the two properties and compulsorily purchasing Mr Tozer's land was that: "It's one thing to buy another house, but you can't buy another farm. They're not in plentiful supply."

Councillor David Saunby, from Falmouth, asked why the Treliever proposal was being "vigorously promoted by the strategic planning team" before Cornwall's development plan is approved by the government's planning inspector, and was told that in the worst case the council would have to sell the properties again.

Cabinet members unanimously supported the purchase, and agreed to seek "provisional endorsement" of the Treliever Creative Village project.