Fire safety forces more students from blocks

Fire safety forces more students from blocks

STUDENTS IN halls of residence run by King’s College London, part of the University of London, have been told to move out by 31 January after ‘potential fire hazards’ were found during inspections.

The Tab reported on the announcement that students in halls of residence at the University of London’s Champion Hill complex will have to ‘decide where they would like to be relocated’ by the end of the week and move out by the end of the month ‘due to potential fire hazards’ discovered. Letters were put under students’ doors or sent via email by residence managers this week, telling them that the university had ‘identified some potential fire safety concerns’.

Affected blocks included the Beech, Maple Oak and Rowan buildings, with residents having to move out by the end of the month but able to select a date between 22 and 31 January ‘that works best for them’, with the option of moving out to rent privately or relocation to an alternative residence run by the university. The management also told students that this decision was made on 19 December, but that students ‘were not informed’ until this week.

The letter read: ‘We have arranged for professional movers, Harrow Green, to move your belongings to your new accommodation allocated by us. You will be provided with suitable boxes to pack and location labels. If you decide to find your own accommodation you will receive financial help with your move and the equivalent of ten weeks rent as compensation.

‘You will be able to select a moving date between the 22nd January to 31st January 2020. Moving dates must be selected by the 16th. We can reassure you that our existing fire safety provision is robust, and you can continue to safely occupy your residence in the interim. We acknowledge this situation will be disruptive and appreciate the engagement with your studies may be impacted.

‘We are working with faculties to understand the number and nature of assessments due in the coming weeks and will be supporting you as proactively as possible.’

Those choosing to relocate to alternative residences were set to be given financial support including increased travel expenses and three weeks free rent, while those moving into private homes would be given the equivalent of ten weeks of rent in compensation ‘as well as financial help with moving’. Blocks at the university had been overbooked at the start of this academic year, meaning some students were ‘stranded in hotels’.

One student commented: ‘I’ve just had a month and a half off when I could be looking for flats and accommodation. I’ve started a new term today with new classes, it’s very stressful. Some people are sitting exams, my classmates found out two hours before their exam that they have to move out.’

A King’s College London spokesperson responded: ‘We are very sorry that we are having to relocate our students at Maple, Oak, Rowan and Beech residences to alternative accommodation. We are working closely with KCLSU and we will be providing compensation and extensive help and support ahead of and during the planned relocation.

‘We will be discussing individual circumstances around study with each student personally and mitigation will be applied where appropriate over this relocation period. If students have concerns about their studies, they can speak with their personal tutor. We have identified some potential fire safety concerns at Maple block that need further investigation at all blocks to understand the level of any risk and any remedial works.

‘There has been no incident and we have robust existing fire safety provision in place, but in order to ensure that works can be carried out safely and efficiently we must move residents before we can start.’