Residents who were evacuated from their homes at Sarah Robinson House, Queen Street, Portsea, last night (Wednesday, 6 September) continue to be supported by Portsmouth City Council, while gas network company SGN work on the gas leak.

Some residents were looked after at a nearby emergency rest centre last night, whilst other residents were accommodated elsewhere, such as choosing to stay with friends and relatives.

Residents at the rest centre have been given food and drink; laundry tokens where needed; and a youth club has opened for children to play.

SGN engineers have identified the source of the leak and are investigating repairing options. However, residents are unable to return to their homes today (7 Sept). SGN will be providing residents with hot food and supermarket vouchers, via the council’s housing office staff.

Council housing office staff have been contacting residents to find out what support they need, and working towards arranging alternative accommodation, where needed, with the priority being our elderly and vulnerable residents. The rest centre will remain open throughout the night, if required, with support from council staff and St John Ambulance service.

Cllr Darren Sanders, Cabinet member for Housing and Tackling Poverty, said: “We understand this is a distressing incident for residents, however, we’d like to reassure everyone that our priority is residents’ safety, and with SGN making sure the block is safe to return to.

“Portsmouth City Council staff and partners continue to support residents; we’d like to reassure residents that our housing team with SGN will provide accommodation and support until it’s safe for residents to return to their homes.”

Katie Lobban, spokesperson from gas network company SGN said: “We understand this is causing inconvenience for all affected residents, and our engineers are working as hard as possible to allow them back into their homes.

“Gas readings inside Sarah Robinson House are currently preventing us from allowing residents to reoccupy their homes. We are continually monitoring the readings whilst ventilating the building.

“We’re working closely with Portsmouth City Council to support customers and our Customer Service Team are on site at the rest centre to answer any questions they have.”

Any residents of Sarah Robinson House, who haven’t spoken to the housing team, are encouraged to call 023 9260 6200.