Hundreds of people forced out of their homes after their tower block was deemed ‘unsafe’ expressed fury at the lack of help during a protest today.

The large group of Barton House residents gathered at Bristol City Hall to accuse the council of a lack of communication following their evacuation from the unsafe tower block. 

Around 400 people who live there were told to pack a bag of clothes and leave on Tuesday evening without warning.

Surveys conducted on three of the 98 flats found a risk to the structure of the block in the event of a ‘fire, explosion or large impact.’

The tenants, including around 100 children, were told to stay away to allow more investigations to be carried out.

But three days on, many have now spoken out of being left in the dark by the council on the reasoning behind the evacuation, the next steps, and the terrible conditions at the hotels they had been temporarily housed in. 

The large group of Barton House residents gathered at Bristol City Hall to accuse the council of a lack of communication following their evacuation from the unsafe tower block

The large group of Barton House residents gathered at Bristol City Hall to accuse the council of a lack of communication following their evacuation from the unsafe tower block

Surveys conducted on three of the 98 flats found a risk to the structure of the block in the event of a 'fire, explosion or large impact'

Surveys conducted on three of the 98 flats found a risk to the structure of the block in the event of a ‘fire, explosion or large impact’ 

Many have now spoken out of being left in the dark by the council on the reasoning behind the evacuation, the next steps, and the terrible conditions at the hotels they had been temporarily housed in

Many have now spoken out of being left in the dark by the council on the reasoning behind the evacuation, the next steps, and the terrible conditions at the hotels they had been temporarily housed in

Residents and members of the wider community gave their testimonies at the protest organised by Acorn, which came to a sudden end when word was given that officials were removing the possessions of residents from Barton House.

This was later confirmed as false rumours by Bristol City Council but concerned residents had already raced back to the tower block to demand answers with police being called to settle the dispute.

Shaban Ali, 36, a Barton House resident and Acorn member, said: ‘We were completely left in the dark, I didn’t have a clue.

‘The group chat started coming alive and rumours were flying all over the place about evacuations happening. There was a complete vacuum of information.

‘Then I looked out and saw loads of people in high vis, officials from the council, fire wardens, just running around uncoordinated. There was no plan, no communication.

‘Some people got knocks on their door others didn’t. It was absolute chaos and pandemonium in there – people screaming, crying.

‘A lot of elderly people, a lot of vulnerable people with very young children. I have two children myself and I didn’t know where I was going to do.

‘I waited till 1am and didn’t hear anything about where to go and stay so I went to a friend’s.’

Residents received a letter over email from the council on Tuesday evening explaining that the building had been evacuated because of safety concerns.

Bristol City Council said residents would receive an update on Monday. 

Residents and members of the wider community gave their testimonies at the protest organised by Acorn, which came to a sudden end when word was given that officials were removing the possessions of residents from Barton House

Residents and members of the wider community gave their testimonies at the protest organised by Acorn, which came to a sudden end when word was given that officials were removing the possessions of residents from Barton House

Residents were unimpressed with the decision, with one telling ITV News: 'The only thing I knew is I received a message on Facebook saying there is something wrong in Barton Hill'

Residents were unimpressed with the decision, with one telling ITV News: ‘The only thing I knew is I received a message on Facebook saying there is something wrong in Barton Hill’

Surveys found there was a 'risk to the structure' of the 15-storey building in the event of a fire, explosion or large impact

Surveys found there was a ‘risk to the structure’ of the 15-storey building in the event of a fire, explosion or large impact

Residents were told they had to leave their homes on Tuesday evening as a precaution

Residents were told they had to leave their homes on Tuesday evening as a precaution 

Anyone who could stay with relatives or friends were being urged to do so 'for a short period of time'

Anyone who could stay with relatives or friends were being urged to do so ‘for a short period of time’

Yasmin, 30, who lives with her mother and one-year-old son at Barton House, said: ‘We’ve been in that block for over 20 years.

‘My mum’s a vulnerable person, I’m epileptic. Yesterday I had a seizure at the hotel.

‘When I have a seizure I don’t know what I’m doing I can be aggressive, violent, I can wee. Anything could have happened to me.

‘Our hotel room is damp on the floor, soaking wet, dirty. As

‘The food for children at the hotel – nothing. How can you expect children to eat curry with bones in?’

Wilfred Stewart, another Barton House resident, has been staying at a Holiday Inn in Bristol since the evacuation and said that the accommodation is dirty.

The 50-year-old lives on the 10th floor of the building and said that in terms of communication from the council he has heard ‘nothing’.

Yesterday, the council said there is 'no evidence' that the issues affecting the block of flats, which was built in 1958, are present elsewhere in the estate

Yesterday, the council said there is ‘no evidence’ that the issues affecting the block of flats, which was built in 1958, are present elsewhere in the estate

Up to 400 residents of a Bristol tower block were forced to evacuate last night

Up to 400 residents of a Bristol tower block were forced to evacuate last night

A council spokesman said: 'All tenants will be kept regularly informed of progress and any updates on support arrangements'

A council spokesman said: ‘All tenants will be kept regularly informed of progress and any updates on support arrangements’

Protestors held placards with the names of councillors who had failed to turn up to the rally. There were frequent calls of ‘shame on you’ every time they were mentioned.

Abdihakim Asir, a neighbour to Barton House, said: ‘I was there until midnight. People were still sitting waiting, not able to get a hotel. There were one-week-old babies still there at that time.

‘The whole evacuation and aftermath was not good enough. No one is taking responsibility. The mayor has said he’s sorry he’s not there but he’s not saying who is responsible.

‘They are just leaving people to their own devices and expecting them to solve the problem.

‘I know many people in that building who are struggling now in many ways. Not everyone is in a hotel, many people are staying with friends. ‘

Yousif Ahmed, 38, another Barton House resident, said: ‘It has been very stressful. We were told it’s not safe. I’ve got three kids, we were in danger.

‘We were told to go to the community centre but we went and it was full so my family had to separate. I have a six-year-old, four-year-old and the youngest is two.’

Police arrived at Barton House this morning after an earlier protest led by residents and supporters at Bristol City Hall demanding answers from the council came to an abrupt end.

When Acorn members and Barton Hill residents arrived at Barton House after the protest today they were barred entry to the office in the building where councillors were sat.

This caused tensions to rise with chants of ‘justice for Barton House’ being repeated.

Among the demands being made by residents included an independent investigation into what happened at Barton House, and the safety of tower blocks across the city, a rehousing plan, reimbursement of November rent, compensation for residents for costs incurred from the evacuation, and mental health support for residents and childcare.

Others residents were housed in a temporary rest centre at the Tawfiq Masjid & Centre mosque, where beds, food and drink were made available

Others residents were housed in a temporary rest centre at the Tawfiq Masjid & Centre mosque, where beds, food and drink were made available

Around 400 people, including an estimated 100 children, have been told to leave Barton House in Bristol immediately

Around 400 people, including an estimated 100 children, have been told to leave Barton House in Bristol immediately

Residents were pictured leaving their homes on Tuesday evening

Residents were pictured leaving their homes on Tuesday evening

Residents say they do not know when they will be able to return to their homes

Residents say they do not know when they will be able to return to their homes 

According to a local councillor, the issue is due to concrete sections connected to the building's supporting walls, which were built with dated design specifications

According to a local councillor, the issue is due to concrete sections connected to the building’s supporting walls, which were built with dated design specifications

A spokeswoman for Avon Fire and Rescue confirmed they have been working with the council following the survey

A spokeswoman for Avon Fire and Rescue confirmed they have been working with the council following the survey 

Eventually two councillors appeared to assure residents that they would receive clear communication and to contact them if they needed any help.

Councillor Jenny Bartle said: ‘Basically there’s been a miscommunication. Some furniture apparently has been removed and Acorn was having a protest. They were informed and now there’s panic.’

Bristol City Council said: ‘We understand rumours are circulating that officers are removing possessions from flats.

‘To clarify, we are speaking to three tenants about the need to empty their properties to conduct new surveys on the building structure that we have talked about in previous updates.

‘Those three households have kindly agreed to have their possessions put safely into storage ad this will begin shortly.’

‘No possessions will be removed from other flats. If any further surveys are needed in other flats, we will contact those tenants and ask for permission.’

Source: | This article originally belongs to Daily Mail

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