University of Lincoln Students Told to Leave Accommodation Over Safety Fears
Around 500 students at the University of Lincoln have been told they need to leave their university accommodation following the results of a recent fire risk assessment. Disgruntled students have expressed their concern about having to leave The Gateway building and one student told The Lincoln Tab: “We got an email at about 10:30am yesterday out of the blue telling us we were having to leave the building." Another student told Lincolnshire Live: “It's been more than stressful, everyone's just got settled in and used to it. People are angry and upset. Me and my friends have all been crying because we have to move. Everyone here has a studio which they wanted for whatever personal reasons, and now we're moving to shared accommodation and getting what's left elsewhere.”
Following an inspection by independent fire consultants the privately owned residential building, was ordered to make “improvements to fire stopping and stairwells to enhance internal fire compartmentation”. Immediate action was taken, including adding additional fire safety inspections and marshals. However, students would need to be relocated until remedial works had been completed by the landlord.
Following discussions with Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, students living on the top two floors were asked to vacate on 21st October. All remaining students had to move out by 28th October.
The University of Lincoln confirmed the fire safety issues in an email to students, which read: “Student safety is our utmost priority and, while other mitigation measures can manage fire safety risks in the interim, having consulted with Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, we have concluded it is in the best interests of our students to vacate the building while we liaise with the building owner to make the necessary improvements.”
The university has stated that it is unlikely that students will be able to return to The Gateway this academic year as the remedial works are expected to take several months and have yet to be scheduled by the landlord. In the meantime, students have been offered alternative living arrangements from the university’s portfolio and “third-party student accommodation providers in the city”.
To offset the disruption that students will face, the university has said it will “arrange removals at no cost to students when they move to their new residence”, and help will also be available for packing and unpacking. It is estimated that the university will pay upwards of £250,000 to students for their relocation, which includes a £500 one-off payment to each student as an “apology for the inconvenience”.
A spokesperson for the university said: “We completely understand this is an unsettling time for students. Please be assured that we are doing all that we can to minimise any inconvenience to them in the present circumstances. Staff from across the university, working with the Accommodation Services team, are relocating students into alternative accommodation.”