Cornwall Councillors will decide on Thursday whether to raise the cap on student numbers at Penryn Campus from 5,000 to 7,500 by 2024.

Planning officers have recommended that the proposal be approved by the council's Strategic Planning Committee, despite protestations from Falmouth Town Council and local residents.

Planning case officer Peter Bainbridge has set out for councillors the main points of the planning application, which would alter the original planning permission for the campus which originally limited student intake to 5,000.

In his final report, he states that the scheme holds "very clear benefits" which are "not outweighed by the concerns raised".

He also states that the increase in numbers "would be done in stages and linked to an increase in the number of purpose built student accommodation [PBSA]," while the universities "bring significant benefits to the area which future expansion will continue to deliver."

And while he recognises "significant local concern" over the effects on accommodation and parking, "proposed mitigation" should keep this to a minimum.

These mitigation proposals include contributions of £40,000 for on street parking measures and a remaining £29,545 of £50,000 for pedestrian and cycle access included as part of the original campus proposal, and a new contribution of around £30,000 for managing parking. Mr Bainbridge states that the universities are "implementing a successful travel plan" which will "reduce the demand for use of cars."

He also notes that the universities have increased the ratio of PBSA to students, with 0.75 beds per students or 1,875 new units, and the university will not be allowed to enrol more than 6,000 students until it has built at least 750 beds.

And despite the student population accounting for 21 per cent of that of Falmouth and Penryn, Mr Bainbridge states that the proportion "will not be a significant problem."

The plans have received almost 300 objections from local residents, plus a petition from protest group Save Our Falmouth with 2,618 signatures, asking the council to keep the cap.

Falmouth Town Council also recommended refusal due to the impact on highways,on the current population mix, and on housing stock, while Mabe Parish Council said it would not support the plans until adequate housing had been provided.

Penryn Town Council, however, decided to raise no objections to the plans in December, having previously opposed them as "the total number of students enrolled would be equivalent to the resident population of Penryn."

The application is the fifth item on the agenda for the Strategic Planning Committee, which will meet on January 5 at 10am in the Council Chamber of Cornwall Council at County Hall in Truro.