Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Students protest over Portsmouth Stanhope House delay

Image caption Some of the students affected gathered outside Stanhope House

University students have held a protest at ongoing delays to a new £30m private accommodation development.

More than 250 Portsmouth University students were told they could not move into Stanhope House days before the start of the academic year.

Those who had gathering outside the building said the delays had caused "huge difficulties".

Prime Student Living has apologised and said students would be moved in on a "phased basis" from Wednesday.

The 17-storey central Portsmouth development was advertised as having 138 studio apartments and 118 en-suite flats, with charges of up to £10,600 a year.

'Home from home'

Second year student Yousef Ahmad, from Birmingham, said he had been "living off takeaways" since being placed in alternative accommodation.

"I arrived in Portsmouth to find a building site. It's had a major impact on my studies. I wanted a home away from home but I've been placed somewhere I can't call home."

Robert Milne received confirmation that he could move in from Wednesday.

He was initially placed in a budget hotel on the outskirts of the city.

"It's very disappointing when you wanted something nice for your final year to enjoy your time here and had saved your money, so it's just been completely spoilt."

Image copyright Prime Student Living
Image caption The Prime Student Living website advertises "delux ensuite" studio accommodation

The problems followed delays to the company's 310-bed Coppergate scheme in Swansea which also left students looking for alternative accommodation.

More than 20 private student blocks across the UK have been delayed this term, according to student housing charity Unipol.

Portsmouth City Council is due to debate a motion accusing developers of a "cavalier attitude".

In a statement the company said "PSL would normally be responsible for operating the building after completion and handover from the building contractors, but stepped in with a contingency plan as soon as it became apparent completion and access would be delayed.

"Both students and the university have been kept fully informed."

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan called the "wider problem" of regulating private student accommodation to be addressed.

"The Office for Students (OfS) regulates universities but has no regulatory power over private student accommodation providers. There is a clear gap that needs closing," he said.

Image caption Developers said the first students would move in to Stanhope House on Wednesday

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites