Lodgings crisis hits new university

PARENTS have flooded Britain's newest university with complaints after 400 students were unable to find accommodation. One father has threatened to take legal action against the University of Luton and another has written to the Prime Minister.

Staff of the former Luton College of Higher Education, which changed its name in July, were forced to seek emergency housing for its students after far more turned up than expected.

About 200 are in four-star hotels and the rest are being taken by bus each night to accommodation belonging to the American University at Watford.

Roy Cox, a parent from Devon, described the scene last Sunday when he arrived in Luton with his daughter as 'bedlam', with hundreds of students and parents demanding to know why they had been promised accommodation that was not available.

He said he was consulting a solicitor after he and his daughter, Natalie, 19, spent six hours waiting to hear whether she had anywhere to stay that night.

Natalie had paid pounds 100 deposit for accommodation but was informed three days before she left home that, contrary to earlier assurances, none was available. On Sunday night she was sent to a hotel that was full and then to another that could only take her for one night.

On Monday she was taken to the American University where the authorities say that she can stay until Friday.

Mr Cox said: 'I have never seen anything so disorganised. If they had told us in advance that this was going to happen, we would have gone up there and sorted something out.'

The vice-chancellor, Tony Wood, said that some parents had complained. He said that the university was the victim of its own success because it had 400 more students than the 4,000 expected.

As a higher education college, Luton always offered more places than it needed to fill its courses, because students often accepted but then received a better offer from a university, he said. This year Luton became a university too, and as a result fewer applicants dropped out.

Some other universities have also provided emergency accommodation for new arrivals. In Manchester about 200 students are in hotels or makeshift dormitories. At the University of Central Lancashire in Preston about 100 students are spending the week at Pontin's in Southport.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Linux Administrator - London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrator ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors

£13000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Please read this fully before a...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Executives - Home Based - £150,000 OTE

£100000 - £150000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity t...

SThree: HR Benefits Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower