Barton House: 'Upset' residents confront Mayor over Bristol tower block evacuation

  • A clash breaks out at the full council meeting. Video from local democracy reporter Alex Seabrook.

Residents of Barton House in Bristol confronted Mayor Marvin Rees one month after being evacuated from their homes due to safety concerns.

The clash, which happened during a full council meeting, started after members of the community union Acorn asked whether they would be able to return to their homes in time for Christmas.

But the group of around a dozen residents were told they could not ask any further questions, which lead to chanting and shouting.

One councillor described the scene as "intimidating", but Acorn denied this, instead saying residents were "understandably upset".

Hundreds of people were evacuated from the tower block after it was found to be structurally unsafe.

The meeting was adjourned but videos show security stepping in, with a further confrontation in the foyer.

More than 400 people were evacuated from the tower block in November after surveys found the building could collapse if there was a single fire in a flat.

Most residents are being housed in a nearby Holiday Inn while a further survey is completed. The results are expected later this week and will determine whether residents are able to return.

Last week, Labour deputy mayor Craig Cheney said: “I want to thank the residents of Barton House for their cooperation and resilience as we wait for the full results of the structural survey. I want to place on record our thanks for those in the community who have helped out with the response."

Acorn wrote in a statement: "11 questions were submitted by Barton House residents and supporters within the deadline for the full council meeting....Barton House questions were relegated to the end of the public was then announced that only one question from Barton House would be allowed.

"These heightened emotions and confrontations could have been avoided if the Mayor or cabinet member for housing had answered invitations sent weeks ago to meet with Acorn representatives."