L.A. O’BEE deploys a graphic (mixed) metaphor to express his displeasure at the expansion of Southampton University’s halls of residence adjacent to the Mayflower Theatre, likening such expansion to a “creeping fungus [with] spreading... tentacles”.

Absent from his analysis is any consideration of the benefit side of the cost/benefit ratio.

This would include the achievements of the university as nurturing the advancement of knowledge in the fields of science, including medicine, politics and the humanities, as well as beng a provider of education in those subjects.

Additionally, the university generates investment, job creation, and extra consumer expenditure in its host city.

In view of the effects on employment of deindustrialisation (eg Ford), and containerisation in the port it could be that the planners were inflluenced by factors other than the nonprivate status of the applicant and have deemed it unwise to inhibit the expansion.

They might also have pondered Marx’s riposte to someone who had the temerity to disagree with his argument: “ignorance gets no one anywhere.”

DON DEVERS, Southampton.