Threat to planned Cornish institute

August 10, 2001

Legal wrangles and soaring construction costs are threatening plans for a university in Cornwall.

A student prospectus for the Combined Universities of Cornwall project has just been launched, but Exeter University and Falmouth College of Arts have failed to agree on who will control the main campus site at Tremough.

An Exeter spokesman said the university had understood that the freehold of the whole site would go to a legal vehicle jointly owned and controlled by the two institutions, but that managers at Falmouth had proposed a different arrangement. They wanted only part of the site to be transferred and on a leasehold, not freehold, basis. They would retain control over the remaining 60 per cent.

"Obviously it is a difficult issue for us and something that has to be resolved," the spokesman said. But he stressed that both sides remained committed to finding a solution.

A university council meeting last month voted to continue with the scheme, subject to resolution of the land issue.

Gordon Kelly, coordinator of the CUC, said discussions were taking place with the aim of coming to an agreement.

Another concern is the cost of the project. The estimated cost of phase one, due to start next year, has risen from about £39.3 million to about £46.5 million. The scheme will benefit from grants from Europe, and the government pledged £19 million in May.

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