Penvose Student Village

Purpose-built student village makes room for residents

Penrose Student Village CGI
Falmouth University Logo


Axis supported the planning application for Falmouth University to secure accommodation for more than 2,000 students with ancillary buildings, services and facilities.

The Challenge

Falmouth University has a successful and rapidly expanding campus – more than 8,000 students now occupy ten per cent of all available housing and well over 50 per cent of all private rental accommodation in Falmouth and neighbouring Penryn.

However, this rapid growth is putting pressure on the local housing market and, in turn, causing a rift between students and local residents. To solve the problem, Cornwall Council has removed permitted development rights for the conversion of properties into ​​Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and established a planning policy preference for all new student housing to be purpose built.

In addition, the council has also sought to allocate sites for student accommodation within their Site Allocations Development Plan Document (SADPD), with a preference for locations near to the university campus. Our developer client enlisted the help of the Axis team to prepare a planning application for a student village on land near to the Falmouth University campus.

The Process

The site was initially identified as a preferred location for purpose built student accommodation in the council’s draft development plan. However, the application site was subsequently removed from the emerging development plan following submission of our planning application. Removal of the site from the emerging development plan meant that, for planning purposes, the 20ha site constituted a greenfield site in the open countryside.

Axis’ experts prepared a planning argument and strategy emphasising how the project would meet most of the residual need for student accommodation in a single development close to the university campus, in line with the council’s own goals. Our arguments included how the development would alleviate pressure on the local housing market, provide new essential infrastructure, create facilities not currently available on campus and deliver significant economic, social and environmental benefits.

With the wider project team, we also carried out extensive consultation with key local stakeholders, including Save Our Falmouth, Save Kernick Industrial Estate, Smithick Ward Residents Association, Falmouth Town Council, local councillors and the wider community; the development received widespread support.

Penrose Student Village Site Plan
Penrose Student Village CGI

The Result

Cornwall Council’s Strategic Planning Committee voted overwhelmingly in favour of granting planning consent for the Penvose Student Village development, which will provide a comprehensive solution to the student housing shortage in Falmouth and Penryn and relieve the pressure on local housing stock.

The planned development includes accommodation for more than 2,000 students, a 474-space park and ride facility, a university study and social hub, a retail parade and restaurant, a doctor’s surgery, sport and leisure facilities and a day nursery, among other elements that when combined, will create a thriving, sustainable community.

Martin Pollard, Technical Director at Axis, said: “The Penvose Student Village development is a great example of our ability to deal with difficult planning and political issues on a strategic scale development. It demonstrates our skill in developing a coherent planning strategy and convincing planning arguments, and also highlights our tenacity and determination to deliver a positive outcome for our clients.”

It demonstrates our skill in developing a coherent planning strategy and convincing planning arguments, and also highlights our tenacity and determination to deliver a positive outcome for our clients.
Martin Pollard
Technical Director at Axis