Cornwall Council has said it is "reviewing" its policy on student car ownership and parking after one planning officer criticised a proposed accommodation development for having too much parking.

In pre-application advice for plans to demolish several business units at Parkengue, on Kernick industrial estate in Penryn, principal development officer Mark Ball told the applicants to only provide parking for staff and disabled students, and suggested they reduce the number of spaces.

He said: "Having regard to the submitted site plan, the space between the student accommodation buildings seems to me to be dominated by the access road and parking spaces, which I consider to be a missed opportunity.

"The space between these buildings should be predominantly landscaped amenity space for use by occupiers of the development and preferably should remain car-free. Parking should be provided only to cater for staff members and disabled occupiers and whilst parking spaces need to be secure and overlooked they should not be a dominant feature in the layout."

Mr Ball gave the advice at a time when student developments are being criticised for increasing parking on already crowded streets, with recent proposals to install on-street charges and residents parking zones to control the number of cars.

Asked whether this advice was usual council policy, a spokesperson told the Packet: "We are currently reviewing how we deal with the issue of student car ownership and parking."

They said the advice given by Mr Ball was "layout and design focussed" and the council did not want schemes "dominated by car parking."

However they recognised however that many students will own a car, and that providing too few spaces and charging for student parking can push parking to nearby residential streets.

They added: "We are working with the university and potential applicants to see how best to design a solution that recognises student car ownership but which also aims to discourage car use as far as practicable by providing dedicated bus links and making pedestrian and cycle access easy and convenient for appropriate journeys."

Asked about measures the universities are taking to control the numbers of students bringing cars to Cornwall and where they park them, Falmouth University's director of communications Robert Hillier said there were "no specific sanctions."

Instead, he said, the university tries to raise "awareness of the increasingly attractive alternative options and continuing to invest in public transport."