Huge block of Derby students evacuated over safety concerns

Student accommodation managed by the University of Derby was evacuated for security reasons, according to Derbyshire Live.

Residents of Cathedral Court, opposite the Queens Leisure Center in Derby city center, have frantically called student rental agents across the city to try and find alternative accommodation.

On Friday morning (January 7), Global Fire and Security, a Nottingham-based fire safety, suppression and security systems specialist was seen entering Cathedral Court.

The complex, on Cathedral Road in Derby, hosted students for the first time in 2016 and currently charges £ 157.08 per week for 350 premium en-suite rooms for University of Derby students.

The university says the accommodation provides a “perfect location for students who want to be in the middle of all the city has to offer.”

Global Fire and Security was on site at Cathedral Court early Friday morning (January 7)

Derbyshire Live understands the university has been aware of the situation since at least December, with students initially saying they should temporarily vacate the property for a few weeks.

As of yesterday, the accommodation students have been informed that Cathedral Court will be closed for the remainder of the academic year.

A student who declined to be named and who has been living at Cathedral Court since the start of the academic year told Derbyshire Live: December (and said we have to go out during the day).

“They didn’t go into details at all but said there was a fire safety issue that had been detected this week – something to do with the building that would not increase the risk of fire, but would make a fire harder to contain if it did break out.

“They said we didn’t need to bring everything, just enough for the first two to three weeks.”

The email, seen by Derbyshire Live, told the students: “We have been made aware of some issues with the fire protection measures at Cathedral Court Residence.

Cathedral Court is one of the newer accommodation blocks at the University of Derby for students living in the city

“This does not mean that there is an increased risk of fire, but in the event of a fire it would be more difficult to contain its spread without making changes to the building.”

The student told Derbyshire Live he had received another email from the university saying that the work to be done on the site would be “loud and intrusive” and therefore Cathedral Court would be closed for the remainder of the academic year.

Speaking to student rental companies across town, Derbyshire Live understands that much of the town’s alternative student accommodation has already been let for the academic year.

The Cathedral Court resident told Derbyshire Live: ‘I am currently at the house where I am since December 22nd and honestly have no idea where I will be living – my friend and I are currently looking for a alternative in private-owned accommodation.

“We’re trying to find something before February, when the university starts up again, because the daily commute wouldn’t be perfect for either of us – I have a job in Derby too, so it’s not really ideal either.

“They gave us the option to help us find other student accommodation, but it will be a huge change from Cathedral Court so my friend and I would prefer to find ours.”

Cathedral Court was considered a huge success according to developer Prosperity Capital, who built the property and subsequently also built The Croft, a private student accommodation also on Cathedral Road.

Derbyshire Live attempted to contact Prosperity Capital, but we were unable to contact the company. Social media accounts operated by the company have not been updated for over two years.

Last year, the university received the award for best university halls and best environmental management in the 2021 National Student Housing Survey.

He provided the following statement: “To keep all of our employees safe, we conduct regular fire investigations in our buildings and act promptly on any changes we need to make.

“Based on a report received just before the Christmas holidays, we made the decision to move the students from Cathedral Court to another university residence.

“Further assessments undertaken over the past two weeks have confirmed that the required maintenance work will be noisy and intrusive, and not conducive to a pleasant environment in which to live, study and socialize.

“Therefore, we have made the difficult decision, in the best interests of our students, to close Cathedral Court for the remainder of this academic year.

“Our priority today is to support our students to give them certainty in their living conditions by the end of the academic year.

“This report was specific to Cathedral Court and concerned the interior rather than the exterior of the building.”

He did not specify the exact conclusions of the report or the nature of the work to be carried out throughout the year.

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