Residents of Bodley's Court have raised their concerns to King'sUma Ramachandran/Anya Davidson

King’s students living in Bodley’s Court have brought to the College concerns that extensive construction work to repair and restore the building’s roof has had a severe impact on their quality of life.

Residents of Bodley’s Court have cited loud drilling work throughout the day, plastic sheets as windows offering little insulation, and large objects outside windows leaving little to no natural light.

The court’s front lawn has been transformed into a base for the construction, with the inner court cordoned off and containing a crane, as well as various construction offices.

Prior to a meeting that took place between students and the College on Wednesday, Sophia Georgescu, King’s College Student Union vice-president and a resident of Bodley’s, told Varsity that students had little communication with the College regarding the construction plans.

Rooms in Bodley's Court often have enviable river viewsUma Ramachandran/Anya Davidson

Two weeks ago, Georgescu held a meeting with other Bodley’s residents to compile issues that students wanted to raise with the College. She noted a turnout of around 24 students, saying that it was “nice to see people who aren’t normally involved in activism” come together to work for change.

Concerns have been raised over the high price of Bodley’s rent. Considered some of the most desirable King’s accommodation in a typical year – with large sets in an old building that has views of the river Cam – Bodley’s Court rents are some of the highest in College, with many of the rooms labelled ‘band six’.

Band six ‘short contract’ rooms have a weekly rent of £174.53, while ‘long contract’ rooms have weekly rents of £165.80.

In Easter Term, the College offered the incoming Bodley’s students a half-band reduction rent. However, given King’s inflationary increases in rent, this means band five and a half rooms still have rents nearly in line with last year’s band six rooms.

Questions have been raised over whether Bodley’s residents should receive rent reductions due to the ongoing construction work, although the students who spoke to Varsity noted that the College had not yet had the opportunity to rectify their concerns.

Lily Flashman, a second-year at King’s, said she has been “driven crazy by these drills” when trying to work in her room, referring to the building work which has disrupted the tranquility of the riverside court.

The Bodley's front lawn has become a fenced-off construction zoneUma Ramachandran/Anya Davidson

The court’s top-floor residents, which included fellows’ offices, have been moved for safety purposes.

Students have also described large amounts of dust from the building site coming in to kitchens and bathrooms when they open windows to provide ventilation.

And more recently, some students have had their rooms’ windows removed and replaced with plastic sheets, a measure that one Bodley’s resident claimed would be in place for at least “two to three weeks”, blocking light and offering little in terms of insulation.

Some students also expressed their discomfort with seeing building staff on the scaffolding outside their windows when in their rooms or bathrooms, which they said has constituted an unnerving invasion of privacy.

Flashman added that some Bodley’s residents have found that “literally outside their room there is a water tank, so they have no natural light”.

“I’ve been trying to study in my room, driven crazy by these drills”

KCSU Accommodation Officer Maddy Bishop said that Bodley’s “is very expensive accommodation for somewhere that has kind of a lack of amenities”, as its bathrooms and kitchens have been renovated less recently than some other King’s accommodation. She noted that “they’re big rooms and they’ve got a lovely view and they are really well-placed”, but “a lot of what is good about Bodley’s has been negated by the redevelopment.”

Bishop asked, “if you haven’t got light and a view... then why are you paying band five and a half?”

This year’s construction work reduced the popularity of the Bodley’s staircases. Both Flashman and Georgescu pointed to their low positions on this year’s room ballot as a contributing factor in how they came to live in the building.

Bishop, who has been liaising with the College on Bodley’s construction issues, said that the college has been “reasonably accommodating” and that “we are reasonably confident that everything will be resolved to our satisfaction.”


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Bishop added that King’s held an “information meeting for Bodley’s residents, to let them know what the work would actually be like” at the end of the last academic year, which came after the ballot had already been drawn. However, Bishop said “nobody attended [the meeting] because it was during May Week”, which she felt was not “an appropriate time”.

Following a meeting yesterday in which residents’ concerns were presented to the College, the Domus Bursar issued a joint statement with Bishop to Varsity: “The building works at Bodley’s Court in King’s College are causing more disturbance than had been expected.

“The King’s College Student Union is working with the College Officers to try to minimise this disturbance and support the students involved. We expect to make detailed proposals shortly.”

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