Tensions Soar Between Universities and Local Residents

The following news story was written for Hook 


Tensions are rising after local universities put forward their proposed plans to deal with the student housing crisis facing Falmouth and Penryn.

Representatives from Falmouth University and the University of Exeter attended a council meeting to answer questions concerning the development of student housing in the local area and were met by a vocal crowd.

Falmouth Town Councillor Diana Merrett said: “We have not got any more room, we are being saturated door to door and people are complaining that our children and their children will be in their sixties or seventies before they get a house.”

Save Our Falmouth activist Derek Asquith told Hook: “Young families cannot afford to live in the town or Penryn. We have a housing crisis.”

Councillor Rowenna Brock said that while the universities are not entirely to blame for the housing crisis, she does not want to see Falmouth “destroyed” by student housing and that the two universities’ expansion plans should “pause” until first-year students are “guaranteed a flat”.

Brock’s comments come after students submitted a motion to the Falmouth and Exeter Student Union (FXU), expressing concern over the affect the increasing number of students would have on housing. The FXU forwarded the motion to the Falmouth Town Council.

Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson, FXU President of Student Experience, told Hook the FXU is committed to supporting the two universities and understand that they want to grow. They also understand that growth could “bring real benefits” to everyone affected.

She added: “Therefore, we would like to emphasise that the motion was about sustainable growth, not an outright call to stop growth in student numbers entirely, as reported. It is called for by students as they are seeing real pressures in the housing sector currently and foresee this worsening in the future.”

Falmouth Vice-Chancellor Professor Anne Carlisle said the university was proud to call Falmouth and Penryn its “home” and that the university is working at a “granular level” to make sure students and residents are accommodated.

University of Exeter representative David Hosken said: “We totally support Article Four and are searching for solutions beyond Falmouth.”

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