© University of East Anglia
The buildings set to close include parts of the famous Ziggurats
Free bikes for students moved off university campus due to unsafe accommodation
Following the discovery of unsafe concrete, the University of East Anglia has moved 170 students off campus, with each receiving a free bike voucher
In the east of England, a university has offered 170 relocated students free bikes, as some of the university's main accommodation has been closed due to the presence of dangerous concrete.
Reinforced Autoclave Aerated Concrete (RAAC) has been causing havoc all through the United Kingdom. In recent weeks, as school holidays came to an end, 147 schools around the country were deemed unsafe due to new Government guidance that declared the material unsafe.
On September 8, just weeks before students at the University of East Anglia (UEA) arrived for the new university year, the university announced that vast swathes of its accommodation would close in line with the new rules on RAAC. 750 students have been affected, and in the past few days, the university has scrambled to find new accommodation for each of them. Most of the students affected will remain on campus, but 170 have been placed in private accommodation in the nearby city of Norwich.
To cover the 4.2km between the new accommodation and the university, UEA is offering relocated students a free bus pass or a voucher to buy a bicycle. The details of the vouchers are, at present, unclear. GCN has reached out to the university for more information.
All we do know is that the university is determined to ensure students do not suffer financially from the relocation. In a statement about the relocation, the university insists that "there will be no financial impact on any student as a result of any change to their planned accommodation".
In a statement, Vice-Chancellor Professor David Maguire emphasised how well the university has responded to this unfortunate situation, saying: “A lot of hard work has gone into minimising disruption for our students and I’m very pleased that we’re now in a position where every relocated student knows where they are going to be moving into when they arrive with us for the new academic year. It’s been a huge logistical challenge to find accommodation for around 750 students at such short notice but this has been completed successfully."
Without a doubt, the disruption that this crumbling concrete has caused both at UEA and across the country has been catastrophic, but it's encouraging to see cycling promoted by the university. If even a few of the 170 students offered a free bike take up the offer and discover the benefits of cycling as transport, we might be able to draw some positive outcomes from this difficult situation.