Work appears to grind to a halt at 300-bed student block hit by more delays

There are further significant delays on the site of a 301-bed student accommodation block, gym, shops and restaurants in Lincoln city centre.

The Lincolnite was told staff have downed their tools and work has stopped. Some workers remained site on Friday morning when reporters went to investigate, but no building work was visible.

The project at 179 High Street, next to the railway line, had already been delayed from its September completion target, affecting hundreds of students in the run-up to the start of term.

Now, issues with contractors will mean affected students have been offered compensation and alternative accommodation arranged for them will be made available for the duration of the academic year.

The development has been significantly delayed. Photo: Connor Creaghan for The Lincolnite

The Lincolnite was told that some workers have downed tools on the site on Friday, September 27. Contractors have not responded to reporters by the time of writing.

The joint venture by EBW Developments (Block Ltd and MWPL Ltd) had a letting agreed with the University of Lincoln for 21 years.

It will include 250 bedrooms with a gym, shops and restaurants in one block. A second block will include a six-storey annexe with 51 bedrooms.

According to the University of Lincoln’s accommodation guide, the en-suite rooms cost £5.986 a year. The studio costs £7,213 a year.

The Lincolnite spoke with the few workers spotted on the noticeably quieter site on the morning of Friday, September 27. They told reporters they knew nothing of a change in the contracts.

It was expected to open in September 2019. Photo: Joseph Verney for The Lincolnite

The University of Lincoln said that affected students will be given alternative housing for the rest of the year and that they have been offered compensation, including a three week rent concession.

A spokesperson for the University of Lincoln said: “179 High Street is a private development and the developer has recently informed us that it may be subject to additional delays. Our students have already been given alternative accommodation in a nearby hall of residence and we will continue to offer this to the affected students.

“The university is disappointed that our students have been placed in this position. We are interceding on behalf of our students to resolve the issue and to support them.

“We can confirm that no student will pay more than they had contracted to and we have offered compensation to all the students including a 3-week rent concession.

“We updated students yesterday (26th September) and our Accommodation Office was open last night for individual enquiries until 11pm. We have invited all the affected students to a meeting today (Friday 27 September) in case they have any questions.

“The university will not tolerate our students moving into accommodation which is not complete.

“No students are being moved or will have to move. We have already housed affected students in high-standard purpose-built student accommodation which is now being made available for the duration of the year.

“Students will be fully supported by our team with whatever decision they wish to make.”

The university is working with the Students Union and Cassie Coakley, Student Union President, said: “We have become aware that the 179 High Street accommodation development has been significantly delayed.

“The Students’ Union recognise that this situation is beyond the control of the university and appreciate that they have kept us informed through the process of the development.

“We know how disappointed the university are with this situation.”

The Lincolnite also contacted developers Marcus Worthington Group, but there was no response to enquiries by the time of publication.

Student’s experience

One student affected by the delays, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Lincolnite they had been told the building would not be finished until 2020 and their contracts for the rooms had been terminated.

She added her disappointment that the temporary accommodation she had been housed in was “old ad run down”. She said there was a “blood stain on the mattress and the shower and toilet needed fixing.”

“People in other accommodation have also had issues with plugs exploding, ovens not working and electricity going out.

“We have been told we will get £150 in compensation as well as our £250 deposit back, however we were promised better when the completion was originally pushed back.

“A lot of us are paying more for our temporary accommodation which has a longer contract and are left with money issues.”