October 17, 2022 4.02 pm This story is over 18 months old

Fire safety concerns force 500 University of Lincoln students out of accommodation

Repairs expected to take several months

By Local Democracy Reporter

Around 500 University of Lincoln students need to relocate after fire safety concerns at The Gateway student accommodation in the city. Now tenants have to pack their things and move out by the end of next week.

A fire safety assessment conducted by consultants Tri Fire Ltd, received on October 10 flagged up numerous issues with the building – namely improvements needed to stop fires in the stairwells.

In an email sent to students, the University of Lincoln confirmed that residential tenants at The Gateway will be relocated “in the coming weeks”, with a view to be completed by Friday, October 28.

Works to tackle these issues are expected to take “several months” but repairs have not yet been scheduled by the landlord. The Gateway is leased by the university, but owned by private landlords.

Meanwhile, there will be additional fire marshals in the building, the University of Lincoln said.

The university promised to provide “full support” in helping students find a new place to live for the academic year.

This support includes a £500 one-off payment as a token gesture for the disruption caused, meaning the university will be paying at least £250,000 compensation to residents.

Students who wish to be released from tenancy agreements can request to do so — only paying rent up to the date they serve notice.

The university will be unable to guarantee like-for-like alternative accommodation, but students will be able to pay less if the rental is cheaper at the newly agreed location.

As well as this, the university will arrange removals at no cost for students when they move to their new residence, plus help for packing and unpacking belongings.

What the university said

In an email to students, the university said: “Student safety is our utmost priority and, while other mitigation measures can manage fire safety risks in the interim, having consulted with Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, we have concluded it is in the best interests of our students to vacate the building while we liaise with the building owner to make the necessary improvements.”

The university’s frequently asked questions page on the subject says it is unlikely that students living at The Gateway will be able to return there this academic year, and work has begun in identifying alternative accommodation for the 500 students that have been left without halls of residence as a result of this.

Dan Moss, area manager for prevention and protection at Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, said: “We have been working closely with the University of Lincoln following concerns raised as part of our continual fire safety work, relating to The Gateway Student Accommodation building in Lincoln.

“Our fire safety inspectors have been working alongside the University and reviewing information relating to fire safety measures within the building.

“We’re fully supportive of the university’s decision to relocate students whilst further surveys are carried out and remedial works undertaken, and will continue to provide support and advice as necessary.”