Further to your report last week on parking provision at the new student village, I am driven to write in support of students’ rights to bring their cars if they so wish. I fully sympathise and appreciate the problems their cars can cause but this is largely due to a lack of provision, by both council and university, that has allowed an intolerable situation to develop. And it sounds as though this is set to continue with an unrealistic level of parking provision at the proposed village.

We should consider that these young people are, for the large part, leaving their homes and families for the first time and choosing to come to Cornwall to study for three years, whilst incurring upwards of fifty thousand pounds of debt for the privilege. And how do we greet them? To date, totally inadequate levels of accommodation (which, by the way, will cost you a fortune), and don’t you dare bring your car!

I remember when the university was founded: much was made of the fact that all rooms had space for surfboard storage: it was considered hilarious. So, how are today’s students supposed to get to the surf beaches or explore our beautiful county? On the bus? We are not some inter-city metropolis with an integrated travel system. More importantly for those who live far away, how are they supposed to transport all their kit to and from home? I know from personal experience they don’t travel light and they cannot possibly carry everything, even if there is a train. Not everyone has parents to do it for them.

Of course there must be a good public transport system: most students cannot possibly afford cars and there should be positive encouragement to use it: we must consider the environment and parking availability in our towns. (But as a result of the university not providing adequate on-site accommodation and the students having to live en masse in our towns, we are now subjected to a fleet of new double decker buses, for the large part practically empty, constantly clogging up our streets, as they go to and fro, day and night.)

However, what other group is prohibited from bringing their vehicles with them to Cornwall? Holidaymakers? (The county’s population doubles in high season.) Incomers moving into all the new houses that are being built? How many of us, or the people setting these draconian rules, would be willing to sacrifice our independence by someone telling us we are not allowed to use our own cars? Why just pick on the students?

The university is a calculating big business: simply put, more students equals more money for them. In principle, I support the creation of a student village in the right place, but if they want to expand numbers ever higher then they need to provide all the services and facilities to do so in advance, including adequate accommodation and realistic levels of parking. For once, let’s have some honesty here. And the same rules should apply to any student accommodation developments or houses in the towns so that our streets are not taken over. Not to do so just moves the problem elsewhere and creates unnecessary friction.

We should be welcoming to all our young guests and their cars should they wish to bring them, and it is the duty of the authorities, the University and Cornwall Council, finally (after years of abject failure) to make sure that they finance and provide realistic resources for us to do so.

Marc Laundon