‘Figures show true scale of student housing’
10:22am Wednesday 15th August 2012 in Skipper
According to the latest figures, prised from the grasp of a reluctant Cornwall Council through a Freedom of Information request, nearly one in ten Falmouth homes are now solely occupied by students.
Now that number may come as a surprise to some, but for those of us who live in the town, it really is not a shock.
The number of properties being transformed into student homes in recent years has been phenomenal.
Some parts of the town have seen the vast majority of family homes transformed into ‘houses of multiple occupancy’ – council-speak for student homes.
Now, the Skipper is not anti-student, indeed, I am far from it. The university’s expansion has brought a year-round vibrancy to the town and has helped shield Falmouth and Penryn from some of the worst effects of the global recession.
However, serious questions have to be asked over the detrimental effect the lack of dedicated student housing has had on the town.
Families have been forced to move elsewhere as landlords have spotted an opportunity to make more money out of their property.
Surely building a dedicated student village to cope with the extra numbers of under-graduates coming to the town would have been a much better idea?
Instead, as it has been described, building a huge campus without the homes needed for prospective students was like building an out-of-town supermarket without a car park.
The problems caused by students could have been avoided if they were addressed when the university began its expansion programme more than a decade ago.
Now we seem to be stuck with them until the powers-that-be can stop bickering and come up with a solution to benefit all involved.