300 Exeter students still waiting to return to halls following WW2 bomb detonation

Students are set to return ‘in the coming days’

300 Exeter students are still waiting to return to their accommodation after the detonation of Exeter’s World War Two bomb on Saturday night. 

Vice Chancellor Lisa Roberts told the BBC 1,400 students were initially evacuated following the discovery of a World War Two bomb on private land next to Streatham campus, and said 300 of these students were still waiting to return.

She said there’s still “work on windows and doors and tidying up” to be done on affected Exeter student accommodation, and that students are expected to return “in the coming days”.

Most students have been returned to their accommodation but the remaining 300 are waiting on repairs following damage caused to a small number of buildings, in which it has been understood that doors and windows of Birks Grange Village and Clydesdale Rise block B were damaged in the controlled explosion of the bomb.

The bomb’s detonation site

The Vice Chancellor said the university “empathised” with students unable to return to accommodation, and that they are “fully committed to ensuring that they get through their educational journey without any interruptions”.

The Exeter Tab has spoken to multiple students about how they’ve been affected, with one student telling us: “I’m still away and I’ve seen pictures of my accommodation without any windows but the uni is yet to tell us anything”.

Second year student Will, who had to evacuate his student house, said: “We have absolutely no idea, we haven’t been told anything by police, council or university”.

Second year students Mathieu, Yves, Guillaume, Alessandro and Barnabe (@omeghouse), spoke to The Exeter Tab about their evacuation experience, saying: “For now we’re just wandering from one place to another. The uni is not going to help us on this one because we’re in a private accommodation. The council is supposed to find us a hotel but the one they chose is beside the airport which is not convenient at all”.

Student Emily Parker told the BBC she has said she has been “struggling to learn” after being evacuated and having to leave her books behind. She says she is unable to concentrate not knowing what state her uni room may been in.

According to the BBC, bomb disposal experts said they had no choice but to detonate the bomb as it was unclear as to what type it was or if it had been booby trapped due to such a corroded fuse.

Exeter City Council has lifted the cordon and told residents they may return to their properties, however warning that many “will be uninhabitable at this stage”. They have been told to make arrangements with their own insurance companies.

If you’ve been affected directly by the incident contact the university’s incident line on 0300 3034847. Additionally, Exeter City Council will now be co-ordinating a helpline for local residents at 01392 265000.