Hundreds urgently evacuated from tower block over major structural faults

Hundreds urgently evacuated from tower block over major structural faults

Hundreds of tower block residents have been evacuated after their local council admitted there were “major structural faults” with the property.

Roughly 400 people will have to leave Barton House in Bristol after the city council declared that surveys had revealed the property would not be safe in the event of a fire or explosion.

Bristol City Council said during a press briefing on Tuesday that residents had been told to leave and stay with friends and family, or go to designated rest centres.

A nearby mosque has been set up to accommodate those who have nowhere to stay.

The residents will be evacuated this evening and through tonight, and have been told to pack enough for “a day or two”, according to the council. The council said officers were going door-to-door telling residents to evacuate their homes.

Barton House is the oldest tower block on its estate, dating back to the 1950s, and the council said they had been carrying out building surveys while it decided on the long-term future of the 98-flat property.

The immediate evacuation of tenants and residents will allow the council to conduct more surveys so they can make “informed longer decisions”, they said.

During the surveys, experts discovered that the building's structure could be "compromised" in the event of a fire, explosion or large impact.

A council spokesperson said: “The council has housing officers on the ground and support teams, knocking on doors, texting, doing everything they can to speak to every person in the block and give them advice to leave.

“This is an ongoing incident and this will go through the night and into tomorrow, possibly beyond that.

“It’s a temporary decamp of the building so the council can get in and look at what work is needed and if that changes, we will update residents.”

Declaring a major incident allows the council, which has said the issue is not related to RAAC concrete, to seek help from outside organisations.

This afternoon's Bristol City Council meeting was postponed following the revelation.

Local GP surgery Wellspring Settlement said on X (formerly Twitter) said it was likely to be an information point.

The emergency services have been put on standby as a precaution, Bristol City Council said.