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Save Hampstead Residence!

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King's have plans to sell off Hampstead Residence by September 2014 meaning it will no longer be available as a KCL Halls of Residence. This will cause a huge issue regarding affordable accommodation at the university, and thus a wider issue of shutting down access to the university for students that are not from an economically privileged background.

Hampstead Residence, Wolfson House, Brian Creamer and The Rectory are currently the only residences that provide accommodation for less than £150 per week; it has been announced that Brian Creamer and The Rectory will no longer be residences from September, and if Hampstead is no longer a KCL residence come September, this will only leave 274 accommodation places available for students at a price of less than £150 per week. In a university of over 25000 students, this is not enough. All the great work that has happened over the years to ensure that King's is open to students from lower economic backgrounds is set to be destroyed over the next few months. We, as the student body of this great institution, have to do something to intervene.

Furthermore, construction works in extremely close proximity to the southside of Hampstead Residence are due to begin in April 2014 and are set to continue throughout May and June. This will mean huge disruption to students during the most important time of the academic year, namely the summer examination period. Students will not be able to work in their rooms, and will be forced to travel into libraries that take at least a 40 minute commute to reach from Hampstead. This shouldn't have to be the case - all students in halls of residences should be free to study in the accommodation which they pay for, without serious disruption, especially during examination periods.

I am proposing that Rick Trainor, and the rest of the KCL higher management team, show that they are commmitted to ensuring that King's is a university open to students from all economic backgrounds, not just those who are economically privileged, by commiting to keep both sides of Hampstead Residence (the cheapest halls of residence accommodation it provides) as KCL Residences. Rick Trainor, and the rest of the KCL higher management team, should also show they are committed to their students' academic aspirations, and general welfare, by ensuring that any construction works on or around Hampstead Residence do not commence until after the 2014 summer examination period. 

UPDATE (Added 25/02/14): The college have been in contact and have said that Hampstead WILL NOT be going in September 2014. However, it looks extremely likely that the southside of the residence of the residence will be going in September 2014, which means the loss of 218 affordable accommodation places without an affordable replacement. The northside of the residence is then planned to go in September 2015 which WILL mean the closure of Hampstead and the loss of a further 274 affordable accommodation places without an affordable replacement.

Also, this means that there is an inaccuracy in the petition - there will be 554 accommodation places under the price of £150 available next year NOT 274. However, if the northside of Hampstead goes in September 2015 as planned, then there WILL only be 276 rooms (274 at Wolfson House plus 2 non-standard at Ewen Henderson that I previously missed) available at a price of less than £150 per week. This is compared to 1341 places only two years ago, before the closure due of King's College Hall (which is due to reopen as Champion Hill in September 2014 but at a much inflated price), and the 869 places available this academic year.

It also worth emphasising again that losing Hampstead means losing the cheapest residence at King's, and the only residence that provides accommodation for less than £120 per week. We should fight for its survival unless the college can guarantee equally affordable accommodation to replace it.

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