Residents of Budock Water have submitted a 535-signature petition against plans to build 226 homes on neighbouring land at Menehay on the outskirts of Falmouth, with 96 per cent of people questioned being against it.

Developers Westcountry Land confirmed earlier this month that it would appeal Cornwall Council's refusal of its scheme, which was turned down by the council's strategic planning committee at the end of March on the recommendation of planning officer, Peter Bainbridge.

An inspector from the government's Planning Inspectorate will now determine the future of the proposals and will hold a public hearing at some time in the new year.

In a bid to show their strength of feeling against the development, a group of residents of Budock Water, organised by Jim Cave, visited every house in the village with a petition that has now been sent to case officer Tim Salter.

From 385 houses visited, 535 people - approximately 96 per cent - signed against the development, with 13 people undecided and eight (around 1.5 per cent) in favour of it.

The petition states that while residents are "not against new housing development," they believe there are more suitable sites to the north of the village.

The petition adds: "We want Budock Water, to keep its village identity and its beautiful valley countryside setting. We want to keep Budock Water and Falmouth visually and physically separate. This land in question is being designated by the County Council as a green buffer zone.

"We are against this development. This housing estate, will be a skyline development for Budock Water. It will be only two fields away from the village. It is expected that if permission is given Budock Water will eventually become a suburb of Falmouth."

It also points to a predicted increase of traffic on Bickland Water Road, which adjoins the Menehay Farm site, with the petition arguing this is already a "very busy road."

The plans put forward by Westcountry Land in collaboration with Falmouth Rugby Club, Westco and Galliford Try, included 79 affordable homes, but were refused on the fact the site was not in Cornwall Council's Site Allocations Development Plan Document, which lists sites approved for development, and the potential effects on the landscape were such that deviating form the plan could not be justified.

Councillors also found that the development would damage landscape character and visual amenity and would "erode the separation between Budock Water and Falmouth," and the application lacked evidence of contributions towards necessary open space and educational infrastructure.

However, a 50 page appeal statement prepared by Laurence Associates on behalf of the developers, ends with: "Having independently assessed the merits of the appeal application and taking the holistic case on behalf of the appellant, I consider that the benefits of the proposals to be substantial and compelling. I therefore conclude that the benefits of the proposals significantly and demonstrably outweigh any potential harm."

The site, had originally been bought by the rugby club for around £200,000 and in 2007 permission was granted to develop a new rugby ground on the site, including a clubhouse, two rugby pitches, a training pitch, the installation of floodlights and the formation of a parking area.

Permission was granted in the knowledge that the rugby club’s existing site at the Recreation Ground would be redeveloped. However, this move did not happen and the planning permission expired in January 2012. The proposed development would enable the rugby club to repay its loan, upgrade its current home and provide more facilities for local schoolchildren.