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Bristol Council
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Bristol Council
World News

Church neighbours in Bristol to spend Christmas away from homes in unsafe tower block

by Ros Mayfield

Residents of Barton House, Bristol’s oldest tower block, situated in the shadow of St Luke’s Barton Hill, have been told they won't be home for Christmas after their tower block was ruled unsafe.

Hundreds of people have been receiving support from the church, which has strong connections and several members among the Barton House community.  They’ve been forced to live in temporary accommodation after being evacuated at short notice more than a month ago, when a survey of their building raised structural concerns. 

The church stepped in to love their neighbours, by providing supplies to individuals and families through its weekly food bank, and exploring the use of the church crypt for communal cooking.

At the time the Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Rev Vivienne Faull issued a statement saying the Diocese was “deeply concerned” about the situation, and offered her “heartfelt sympathies to all affected”.

Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, met with residents of Barton House at City Hall on Monday to provide an update on the current situation with the block.

Results from further study show the issues suggested by earlier surveys are not present throughout the whole building, as was feared, and the council says that residents will be able to move back into the building, but not before the New Year.

In a statement Bristol council said: “the full extent of the work required is yet to be determined and officers continue to await a final report from contractors that will make recommendations about the measures that need putting in place to secure the high level of building safety needed to enable residents’ safe return.

“It is likely that a new communal fire alarm system will be required which is estimated to take 2 months.”

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “I want to thank Barton House tenants for their patience and resilience. We recognise the extremely difficult month that they have had and the toll taken on individuals and families.”

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