Students at Cambridge University have become so detached from the city that they should be sent on compulsory “city service” to help them to reconnect, a councillor has said.

Councillor George Owers, himself a PhD student, likened those students venturing beyond the city’s Grafton shopping centre to entering the “wilds of Borneo”.

Getting undergraduates to work with community projects was the only way to get them out of their “privileged silos”, the Cambridge News reported.

The comments came as the city council debated a Labour motion which said the “tangible disparity” between the life chances of students and families from the university city’s most deprived neighbourhoods was “not conducive to the well-being and future” of Cambridge.