The Road Home: a Delayed Return for Evacuated Residents in Portsmouth

Residents of Sarah Robinson House on Queen Street in Portsmouth will have to wait until at least September 18th before they can return home. The Portsmouth City Council has confirmed this information but also assured residents that they will be contacted promptly if any significant changes or updates occur. Approximately 150 people were evacuated from the building due to safety concerns.

Cllr Darren Sanders, cabinet member for Housing and Tackling Homelessness, expressed his understanding that the delayed return is disappointing news for the residents and the council. However, he emphasized that safety and well-being are the top priorities, and they must wait until SGN, the gas company, confirms that it is safe to return to the building. The council is working closely with SGN and other agencies to provide accommodations, support, and facilities at the nearby John Pounds Centre.

The spokesperson for SGN, Katie Lobban, acknowledged the frustration that the update may cause for affected residents. She apologized for the inconvenience of not being able to return home and assured everyone that the company is working diligently to resolve the situation. SGN engineers are making progress in ventilating Sarah Robinson House, but further work with specialist equipment is needed to eliminate all gas before residents can safely go back.

While awaiting the green light to return, residents in need of temporary accommodation are being assisted by Portsmouth City Council and SGN in securing extensions. Hot food vouchers are also being provided to ensure that basic needs are met. A customer service team from SGN is stationed at John Pounds Centre, alongside council representatives, to address any questions or concerns that residents may have during this challenging period.


1. Why were the residents evacuated?
The residents of Sarah Robinson House were evacuated due to safety concerns related to gas in the building.
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2. When will the residents be able to return home?
The earliest possible date for residents to return home is September 18th.
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3. What support is being provided to the evacuated residents?
The Portsmouth City Council and SGN are working together to secure alternative accommodations, provide hot food vouchers, and address any questions or concerns.
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