Students protest about delays to Portsmouth accommodation block Stanhope House that is still not finished - a month late
STUDENTS have protested outside a 256-bed tower block a month after it was due to open.
Around 10 people gathered outside Stanhope House in Commercial Road, in Portsmouth city centre, unhappy they have yet to take their rooms.
Work appears to be going on at the site, although staff are now inside preparing the building for students. TVs are visible on the walls in studio apartments.
Many students to live in the £30m block have been living in hotels, including at the Ibis near Fratton Park.
Those in hotels have been told they can check-in from tomorrow to Saturday, but many have been told their specific rooms are not available and will need to stay in a different room.
This week The News revealed operator Prime Student Living earmarked £1m for a contingency fund to cover students' expenses.
Delays started almost immediately after demolition work found a huge basement which needed to be filled, it admitted.
But today students stuck outside of their rooms had little sympathy with the firm, or developer Crosslane Student Developments.
Berkshire-based Manisha Singh, 22, is studying a Master's degree in criminal psychology with intelligence but has been staying in a hotel.
She said: 'I haven't even eaten my own food for five weeks.
'I've got deadlines coming up and the fact is they're not really understanding how we're feeling.
'I've probably put on a lot of weight, it's just been horrible.
'All my stuff is in storage. None of this should have happened.'
Haiun Nihar, 21, is studying business management and is in his third year.
The Londoner was due to pay £180 a week for a studio but is paying £210 at neighbouring Catherine House after being told there was no temporary accommodation for him.
'They said there's no spaces and cancelled my tenancy,' Mr Nihar said.
'But they said when it's built they'll offer me the room again.
'I called them today and asked when I could move in and they said they can't tell me.'
Fourth year property development student Rob Milne, 21, from Sheffield, was staying at the Ibis near Fratton Park before staying in university-owned halls.
He has switched his dissertation topic to focus on student tenancies in the private sector. As reported, 22 developments across Britain were not ready for term.
Rob said: 'I've been in the Ibis budget for three weeks, then I moved into uni halls.'
Prime Student Living said it had 'regret' the 19-storey tower block was not ready, and contractor RGB Group said it was not to blame.
It comes as Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan wrote to Prime asking for action. He said there is a regulatory gap in the sector and wants government to act.
He said: 'I will not leave any stone left unturned when it comes to students’ academic futures, the Portsmouth community and the taxpayers’ purse.'