Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Portsmouth students begin to move in to delayed housing block

Image caption Students say their studies have been disrupted by the delays in moving in to Stanhope House

University students have begun to move into a new £30m housing block, weeks after the start of term.

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

Some had to be placed in budget hotels with no free wi-fi.

Developer Prime Student Living (PSL) said it "regretted the inconvenience to students", which it said was entirely beyond its control.

Image copyright Prime Student Living
Image caption The Prime Student Living website advertises "deluxe en-suite" studio accommodation

On Tuesday Portsmouth City Council unanimously passed a motion describing the developer as having a "cavalier approach" and calling for "appropriate and comprehensive recompense".

Leader of the Conservative group Donna Jones said the students' plight was "appalling".

"These are young people who feel fairly vulnerable and have left home for he first time - they've come to Portsmouth expecting to move in to high-quality accommodation and they haven't been able to do that."

Image copyright Rob Milne
Image caption Student Rob Milne said his room had "some snagging issues"

In a written reply to the council, the firm said: "PSL did everything reasonably possible to try to ensure that the impacts of the delay were mitigated for as many students as we could, in the available time and in the circumstances."

The firm said it had set aside almost £1m for its "contingency plan" providing temporary housing for those affected.

It added that it was providing vans and labour to help students move in "on a phased basis".

Image caption Stanhope House was not ready for the start of term

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.

Student Rob Milne said: "On the whole, my room is pretty nice but it has some snagging issues and I feel like you can tell it's been rushed in places."

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

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