Eldon Court student flats in Leeds evacuated over fire risk concerns

Eldon Court Leeds
Eldon Court in Leeds. Credit: Google

Hundreds of students were ordered to leave a block of flats after firefighters warned their accommodation posed a "risk to life".

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service issued a prohibition notice for Eldon Court, on the corner of Woodhouse Lane and St Marks Road in Leeds city centre.

Up to 300 students had to find other places to stay on Tuesday night.

Deputy chief fire officer Dave Walton said: "The decision to take this action has not been taken lightly, especially given the resultant upheaval it has caused for many people.

"We had no choice but to act in this way after our investigations highlighted serious concerns and risk to life."

Firefighters were called to the building after a survey of the building revealed several serious fire risks.

Mr Walton said the city's universities met with students living in the privately-owned accommodation block. All were offered emergency housing.

He said: "It is our duty as the enforcing agency to ensure the safety of our residents isparamount.

"We only serve notice where the risk to people’s life is so serious that we must prohibit or restrict the use of all, or part of the premises until specified matters have been remedied."

The prohibition notice was issued under the Environment and Safety Information Act.

If the owners fail to take action they could face prosecution and the potential of heavy fines.

In a similar case three years ago the fire service issued a prohibition notice over Kingfisher Court student accommodation in Chapel Hill, Huddersfield, after risks to life were found.

A follow-up report revealed over 200 faults at the premises.

The latest evacuation comes after new fire safety reforms came into effect following the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.

In a joint statement, Leeds University and Leeds Beckett University said: "Our residence teams worked together throughout the night to make sure all students were settled in university accommodation.

"The safety and wellbeing our of our students remains our top priority, and we will ensure they continue to have access to secure and safe accommodation for as long as required."

Management company Northend Management has been contacted for comment.