Derby Telegraph reported on the enforcement notice DFRS handed to the University of Derby in relation to the eight and nine storey blocks, which were only opened to students in September 2019 and which include 326 bedrooms. The £23m complex was handed the notice in December after DFRS inspected it, with students offered free alternative accommodation 'until the fire safety issues have been resolved'.
Constructed by Prosperity Capital, the buildings include a gym and cinema, with university deputy vice chancellor Malcolm Todd commenting: 'Following a recent inspection carried out by Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service at The Croft accommodation, an enforcement notice has been issued. This notice includes some safety remediations that The Croft have been instructed to make relating to the fire safety and precautions in place on the premises.
'They have been given two months to comply with the enforcement notice, and, in the meantime, are entitled to continue to operate The Croft as normal. As your safety is of our highest concern, we can provide you with alternative accommodation and we would like to offer you a place in one of our university owned halls of residence, Princess Alice Court, which is less than 500 metres away from The Croft.
'This accommodation we would offer you free of charge until the issue has been resolved at The Croft or until the end of the current academic year. If you are planning on staying in The Croft over this holiday period and would like to move to Princess Alice Court, you are more than welcome and we would encourage you to do so.'
The complex 'can continue to operate as normal while improvements are made', with one unnamed parents stating that their son had received a letter in late December. They added: 'I was shocked when my son received the letter because The Croft has only been open since September. He's home for Christmas now, but I don't want him to move back in until all the work has been done.
'It has made me feel anxious and I've emailed The Croft to say I'm concerned about this. He is paying good money for something that isn't safe. I'm really impressed by the university's response to this, offering free accommodation until everything is sorted.'
A spokesman for Prosperity Capital said the works were set to have been completed 'by the time the students return from the Christmas break' this year, adding: 'Prosperity Capital take fire safety and the safety of the students at The Croft very seriously and it is our absolute priority. The Croft was completed in September 2019 with full certification and full compliance with building regulations, and therefore in turn the fire regulations.
'We received a recent routine visit from the fire officer with some improvement recommendations. We have already taken the decision to proceed with the additional improvement works reported on by the fire officer. This work commenced last week and should be complete by the time the students return from the Christmas break.
'Two items which we need to investigate further is the upgrading of the fire alarm and sprinkler system which were both designed and installed by specialist companies and Prosperity Capital has certification confirming full compliance with the fire regulations (building regulations). We will arrange a meeting with the fire officer as soon as possible to review further.'
A spokeswoman for Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service added: 'On Friday, December 20, 2019, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service issued an enforcement notice in respect of The Croft. Fire safety inspectors from Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service are working with the university and those responsible for fire safety measures in the building.'