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In light of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, a number of tests have been carried out by local fire authorities on university accommodation to see if they are fit for human habitation. Epigram can reveal that popular student halls Waverley House, owned by Unite Students, has failed this test.

Waverley House, one of the accommodation blocks available to Bristol students, has failed Grenfell-style fire safety tests, Unite Students have confirmed.

The Tab reported last month that no university-owned buildings were vulnerable to cladding issues. While this is still true, tests now indicate that university accommodation will need to be reviewed.

A City Centre hall of residence, Waverley House is one of six blocks owned by Unite students, housing over 2,500 students, that has failed tests. Other blocks that failed the cladding tests were in London, Leeds and Portsmouth.

208 students are accommodated in Waverley House, paying between £134.32 and £208.37 per week – although the residence is currently unoccupied.

Students have now been informed by letter of the result and have been reminded of emergency fire protocol.

A Unite Students spokeswoman claimed: ‘safety is our first priority…we believe our buildings are safe for occupation.’

‘Over the long term, we’re committed to making sure all our buildings are as safe as possible…particularly as the next phase of the Government’s testing scheme progresses.’

Bristol City Council had previously assured concerned residents on the matter of fire safety in the city’s buildings: ‘We do not use the same company as that which cladded the London flats. From the information we have we think that the cladding is an entirely different system to that used on the London flats.’

Local fire authorities inspected the affected housing and has confirmed that the buildings can remain occupied with some minor adjustments that will be “immediately” implemented. The communal smoking area will be moved from the ground floor, and regular patrols will be carried out to ensure potentially combustible items are not present.

Unite is awaiting further test results on its accommodation by the Department for Communities and Local Government earlier this month.


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