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Delayed completion of St Thomas Street accommodation leaves 350 new Bristol Uni students to be housed in hotels for ‘up to three weeks’

Around 350 students due to move into a new halls development at the University of Bristol have been informed that they will be put up in hotels due to delayed completion of St Thomas Street accommodation.

By Filiz Gurer, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Incoming first year students at Bristol Uni due to move into their new halls accommodation at St Thomas Street next week will instead be put up in hotels for ‘up to three weeks.’

Approximately 350 students were contacted last week over email and informed that the accommodation under construction would not be completed by the developers in time for their tenancy start date.

Contacting students, the University of Bristol’s email stated: ‘We recognise that this will be incredibly disappointing news and we are sorry for the inconvenience this will cause.’

The University of Bristol told Epigram this morning that whilst details of the hotel provision are currently being finalised, ‘Breakfast, evening meal and wi-fi will be included as will access to a laundry service’, and that the University ‘will be block-booking to ensure affected students are housed together, where possible, based on their existing St Thomas Street flat allocation.’

A copy of the email sent from the University of Bristol's accommodation office to the affected students

Affected students were told that they would be given more information in a subsequent email on 10th September, but, instead, received an email from the University’s Accommodation Office on Friday (10th) stating ‘We are still in the process of finalising arrangements and we will update you further next week.’

‘We apologise for the ongoing uncertainty, but please be reassured that you will receive full support from the University during this period.’

Commenting on the situation facing students on Twitter, Bristol Students’ Union stated that they ‘have been lobbying the university to make sure the affected students are able to accesses everything they need, as well as get some clearer communication.’

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In a statement to Epigram today a spokesperson for the University of Bristol stressed that the delay was caused by the developers and said ‘We have been informed that new student accommodation at 21 St Thomas Street will not be ready to open for the start of term due to unexpected delays.’

‘During the summer, the developers were hopeful the building would be completed on time but last week they confirmed that would not be possible and we were looking at a delay of up to three weeks.’

‘We acknowledge that this situation is far from ideal and are very sorry for the inconvenience and disruption this will cause. We are pushing them to get the property ready as soon as possible to minimise the impact on our students.’

‘Affected students have been contacted with an offer to move temporarily into hotel rooms or alternative university accommodation where they will still have access to the range of welcome events and pastoral support available to all students in University-allocated accommodation.’

St Thomas Street accommodation as seen on the University of Bristol's accommodation webpage

Bristol SU’s Student Living Officer Ruth Day told Epigram: ‘It is clearly unacceptable that each year a number of [Bristol] students start their time here living in a hotel due to their accommodation not being ready. This is in addition to the number of other students who have faced accommodation issues this year.

‘Hotel living doesn’t allow for the same level of community building as in halls, and is a more costly and isolating start to their time at university.

‘I am lobbying the University of Bristol to compensate these students for extra costs like laundry and travel, ensure there is adequate food provision, support moving into their accommodation once it is ready and to work harder to connect them to the student community which is such a vital part of the student experience.’

The new development at St Thomas Street, in the Redcliffe area of the city centre, forms part of the University’s East Residential Village. Whilst the University is the landlord, it is run in partnership with Fresh Student Living, with the cost of rooms starting from £8,358 per year.

Featured Image: University of Bristol

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