'Get it sorted out, people need to go home' - Residents protest Barton House evacuation in Bristol

Around 400 people were forced to leave their homes.

A resident of Barton House in Bristol has accused the council of "scaremongering" after hundreds of people were forced to leave their homes due to safety concerns.

It comes as hundreds have gathered at City Hall demanding answers from Bristol City Council.

Organisers of the protest said they wanted clarity on their future.

Around 400 people, who live in the Barton Hill area of the city, were told to pack a bag of clothes and leave on the evening of Tuesday 14 November.

Bristol City Council said 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 authority told all tenants to leave immediately “as a precautionary measure” while more in-depth inspections, described as invasive, are carried out.

The Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees then said the building was "not built according to plans" in 1958.

Ann Fisher moved into her home around 30 years ago in 1994 with her late husband.

She says the council has been "scaremongering people out of their homes for no reason."

Ann Fisher says everything she has is in her Barton House flat.

When asked how she felt about the situation she said: "Angry, annoyed, because when I got home it was like a war zone, an absolute warzone.

"Nobody knew what was going on, no one could tell me anything.

"All I got told was to 'get out the block's in danger, it's going to come down' so I had to grab my two cats and get them to a friend.

"If it hadn't have been for a friend I wouldn't have been able to go anywhere."

Ann says she's been told conflicting information. Firstly she says that she was told not to return under any circumstances, then told she would need to go and collect a letter.

Ann was then told that she would be able to go back into the flat, but not to stay there overnight.

Bristol City Council has released a statement addressing rumours that officers are removing possessions from flats.

The statement explains: "To clarify we are speaking to three tenants about the need to empty their properties to to conduct the 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 and 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."

'Get it sorted out, people need to go home'

Ann Fisher says that the building has been there for 65 years and that any structure would be affected by a fire, explosion or large impact.

She also highlighted that there are many families with children who "need to feel safe."

When asked about how the situation has affected her, she spoke of her concerns about losing her home.

Ann said: "My husband died two years ago. So my life is in that flat. If I lose that I can't replace him and I can't replace the things that he brought me so if that comes down I've lost everything." 

"There's everything in there. There's my wedding photos, my holiday pictures. Everything of him is in that flat.

"Do they just think I'm going to walk away and let them demolish my flat? Or whatever they're going to do.

"30 years of my life and they think they can just ruin it but somebody deciding that something's not right after how many surveys, how many investigations, it's suddenly not fit for purpose."

She said that the council needs to "get it sorted out, people need to go home."

There's set to be a meeting on Monday 20 November when residents will receive an update.

In a social media post, Bristol City Council said: "If you’re a Barton House resident in need of support, the We Are Bristol helpline is open 8:30am-9pm. Call 0800 694 0184 for free."In an emergency outside of these hours, call 0117 922 2050."Alternatively, email barton.house@bristol.gov.uk"