Students at St Peter’s College are facing upheaval at the start of term following problems with building work.

Renovation work on a staircase housing twelve students, many of whom are finalists, has been pushed back four weeks after builders discovered asbestos inside the structure.

Completion of the work is also being delayed by planning permission problems with the council, due to the listed status of the building.The Rowcroft Building, which overlooks the college’s LintonQuad, is a Grade II listed building that was built in 1928. The improvements, when completed, will add an ensuite shower and toilet to each room, and a kitchen to each floor.

The affected students have to find alternative accommodation as their rooms won’t be ready until at least 3rd week of Michaelmas term. The college has offered £200 and bus fares to students who are able to find their own accommodation, whilst some are being housed in the college’s accommodation.

OUSU Rents and Accommodation officer Jamie Susskind said “OUSU is here to speak up for any student who feels they have been treated insensitively or unfairly, and we are prepared to take action on a case-by-case basis. I have not yet received any calls from St. Peter’s regarding this specific issue, which is the unhappy result of deeply unfortunate circumstances.

“Authorities at St. Peter’s must take action to sort this out immediately, and if there is any evidence that they are not doing so, OUSU will put pressure on the college to make sure it meets its responsibilities. With regard to individual cases, I will do all I can to help and support those who request assistance. I do hope that this problem goes away as rapidly as it should, so that students at St. Peter’s can resume their normal accommodation.”

Students expressed sympathy for the displaced finalists. Clare Bucknell, Magdalen third year said, “I would be really angry if this happened to me.”
The college authorities were not available for comment.