Anger as work to run-down sheltered housing block in Hartcliffe delayed

The renovation of the flats in Hartcliffe has been delayed again.

People living in sheltered accommodation in Bristol have spoken once again of their anger and frustration after repairs have been delayed yet again.

ITV News West Country has followed the people of Walwyn Gardens in Hartcliffe for more than 18 months.

They have faced holes in their ceiling, rotting door frames, mouldy windows, exposed electrics and threadbare carpet.

In March they were finally given a bit of hope when Bristol City Council revealed plans to transform the housing block, which included new roofs, staircases, walkways and insulation.

The council also said it would build a new laundry room and carry out wide-ranging external work.

Work was expected to begin in August but residents have now been informed of more delays - because Bristol City Council is unable to find a suitable contractor. 

Glenis Chard said: "We just can't believe it. That said, we can believe it because this is what always happens.

"We now potentially have to face another winter of terrible conditions, and we have to go through all the work too."

Residents have kept each other's spirits up throughout the pandemic despite living conditions.

Dave Radford said: "I've always said the work will never happen and I still believe this to be true." 

Jackie Birdman told ITV News West Country: "It's just the same again and again. We have to keep fighting for what are really basic living conditions. I am so disappointed yet again.|

What has the council said?

In a statement, Bristol City Council said it "completely understands" the "continuing frustration" of residents but remains committed to improvements to the block.

The statement continues: “With the funding secured, we have recently stepped up conversations with the residents, focusing primarily on ensuring their welfare, safety and comfort during what will be extensive refurbishment scheme, including new flats and a community room, replacement of windows and doors, rebuilding of walkways, improved insulation and access, new balconies, lifts and a laundry room.

“A lack of interest from potential contractors, which we believe is due to the challenging circumstances of the last year, saw just one original bid come in and way over budget.

“A wider tender process to push this scheme forward as quickly as possible is under way and, in our conversations with the residents, we have been upfront about these issues and the potential for further delays.

“In the meantime, our team are completing regular site visits to identify, report and remedy any immediate maintenance issues causing problems at the complex.’’

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