A LOCAL action group has claimed the National Trust is putting commercial gain ahead of protecting the environment of Lanhydrock.
The Save Lanhydrock forum arrived en mass at the stately home where a public exhibition of a major redevelopment scheme was on show.
About 20 protesters wearing Save Lanhydrock rosettes quizzed NT officials, claiming the proposals will ruin the tranquillity of the area with a huge increase in traffic.
The trust has submitted a planning application to create 10km of cycle trails, build a new café in the current car park area, plus a cycle hire business, and provide additional parking, including a coach park.
The development will involve the removal of a number of trees from the site.
More than 100 people attended the three-hour exhibition, with the trust insisting they also had many who supported the scheme.
But the forum, made up primarily of people living in Lanhydrock parish, say traffic congestion, caused by an additional 55,000 visitors a year, will be a blight on their lives and the immediate area.
However, Nick Lawrence, the National Trust's assistant director for the South West, said Lanhydrock House was a visitor attraction which already brought a large number of people to the area every year, and the new proposals would enhance the visitor experience.
"It is all about providing extra benefits and extending the offer we have here, for instance with a 65-seat café which will be outside the pay zone of the house, and there is a need to provide additional parking for people.''
Leo Hickman, who lives with his family near the National Trust property, was one Lanhydrock resident who backed the redevelopment scheme.
"I support the proposal. I believe any local environmental concerns – principally, an increase in traffic flow – are outweighed by the benefits the hub will bring to Bodmin and, more widely, Cornwall in terms of boosting the numbers of people cycling, as well as interacting with a beautiful woodland environment.
"This is doubly important for children. I am further reassured by the trust's promises to ameliorate any environmental impact caused by the construction with the replanting of trees for instance,'' said Mr Hickman,
But Dot Samspon, who attended the exhibition with other forum protestors, said she feared cyclists would end up roaming throughout the woodland.
"They will ruin the woodland and the flowers. I am also very worried about the loss of trees. We tried to get an answer on exactly how many would be lost, and the National Trust couldn't give us a straight answer,'' said Mrs Sampson.
The planning application is expected to be discussed by Cornwall councillors towards the end of October.