Hob today, gone tomorrow

Will Wearden 30 September 2007

Tensions are threatening to boil over in King’s College after hobs in student gyp rooms were mysteriously removed over the summer break.

But despite being the same size and having the same ventilation, fellows’ kitchens are still proudly sporting their old cooking facilities. The hob removals – which later turned out to be part of a health and safety drive by King’s dons – have only struck rooms on the main college site.

Facilities in the college’s off-site accommodation are expected to be next for the chop. It follows a drive by other colleges – including Trinity and Gonville and Caius – to fall in line with Cambridge City Council regulations, which have outlawed many of the rudimentary cooking facilities in student quarters.

But King’s has yet to copy other colleges’ example by replacing the hobs with state-of-the-art combination microwave grills.

And a full explanation of the situation was only provided when King’s student union co-ordinator Tom Deacon raised the issue with his college masters.

In an e-mail to students, Deacon said: “I have very recently had a detailed discussion with the second bursar David Munday and he is committed to trying to help where possible.”

But one disgruntled female student, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s really crap. Those cookers were so useful – and it’s much better to be able to cook with friends. What I can’t believe is they still haven’t directly told anyone anything about it.”

Fourth-year mathematician Christopher Spencer said: “The fact it’s happening in other colleges suggests there’s a good reason to remove them. But they should explain adequately, and a simple e-mail would help to clarify.”

Speaking to The Cambridge Student, David Munday said: “The city council advised King’s that the current gyp rooms do not meet new national guidelines for food preparation.

“As a consequence the college is rolling out a programme in all such communal areas in its old buildings, with provision of modern dual microwave ovens for the preparation of snacks and light meals.

“We intend to provide the best facilities possible, complying with the legislation and within the constraints of the buildings.”

Will Wearden