Barton House evacuation: information for residents.

What happened

Bristol City Council decided to temporarily evacuate Barton House tower block on Tuesday 14 November.

Most people moved out of Barton House and are either staying with friends or family or at the Holiday Inn, which we have provided for residents who cannot.

The evacuation was precautionary to allow for further, more in depth surveys, and a fuller analysis of the building's structure, which has now been done.

The findings from the surveys have given us greater confidence in the building's safety measures than we had in November. However, some work was needed to make the block safe for the residents to return to.

We have now completed the agreed work to make the building safe, in line with the indicative findings of our contractors, and are confident that the building is safe for the residents to return to.

If you're a resident

Survey reports

The survey reports are now complete and available.

These reports, together with assurance from Avon Fire and Rescue Service and our thorough assessment of the report findings, confirm that Barton House is safe for you to return to from Tuesday 20 February 2024.

You can access a number of documents to help you understand the information available to us at the points of when decisions were made. These documents include:

Versions of the Bristol City Council's summary report of investigations, findings, and actions are also available in:

Recommendations made within these reports have been followed.

All essential work to install a central fire alarm system is now complete.

All additional fireproof padding of existing steel supports in the building has also been successfully completed to an approved specification.

Flats unoccupied since the evacuation of residents in November 2023 were also subject to a legionella testing regime following advice from health and safety officers. Housing officers will advise when all tests have been satisfactorily completed for your individual flat.

Following a review of these reports and the work carried out, Avon Fire & Rescue service advised: "with these measures now in place, Avon Fire & Rescue Service support the decision to allow residents to reoccupy Barton House, as the risks previously identified have been addressed, in line with the recommendations of the Fire Engineers reports."

Preparations for your return to Barton House

All residents are being contacted by the Housing team to arrange a visit to your flat over the next 3 days in advance of your moving back in.

If you have not heard from the Housing team yet with a time and date for your visit, rest assured you will be contacted shortly.

This visit will be a chance for you to understand the work that has been undertaken to make Barton House safe, familiarise yourself with the new fire alarm system and to view your home with a member of the property team and a housing officer to discuss any final repairs and redecorations if needed.

All residents currently staying at the Holiday Inn will need to leave the hotel by 5pm on Friday 23 February.

Housing officers will be on hand at Barton House and the Holiday Inn to provide support and information to help you move safely back into your home.

As part of ongoing repair works, trade staff will still be on site when you return. For more complex repairs a surveying team will also be available to carry out inspections to work up plans for future works.

Taxis

Taxis continue to be available to residents to move their belongings back to Barton House. This additional service will end on Sunday 25 February.

Fire alarm system and testing

When you return home, you will notice heat sensors throughout the building, in flats and communal areas, which are part of the new alarm system installed.

All residents will hear the fire alarm sound on their pre-return visit. This alarm will sound for a short time at 10am and 2pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week. Please be aware that this is a test and there is no need to leave your flat if you hear the fire alarm at these times.

Timeline for return

All Barton House residents can safely return to their homes from Tuesday 20 February. Residents staying at the Holiday Inn will need to vacate their hotel rooms by Friday 23 February at 5pm.

Vulnerable people, disabled people or residents with significant health conditions

To make sure that residents are well supported through this time, we're working with:

  • our social care colleagues
  • NHS partners
  • local charities
  • community groups and faith groups

If you have an additional need that's not being met, let your Housing Officer know.

Help and support

Barton House

Housing Officers are available from 9am to 5pm on weekdays to support residents with returning to their homes.

Caretaking staff will be available from:

  • 7.30am to 4pm, Monday to Thursday
  • 7.30am to 3.30pm, Friday

Although sometimes they may be out supporting residents around the site.

Holiday Inn (Bond Street)

Housing Officers are available from 12.30pm to 5pm on weekdays.

If you need help and can't get hold of a member of staff, call 0800 694 0184.

Help on the weekend

For out of hours emergencies and weekends, call 0117 922 2050, where a Duty Housing Manager or Team Leader will be available.

Signs

We've put up signs at Barton House and the Holiday Inn to let residents know where you can get the latest information and support.

We'll also have members of staff on hand to give you help and advice if it's needed, both at Barton House and at the Holiday Inn.

Help and support

If you need additional support and help, you can:

HomeChoice Bristol help and advice

If you're thinking about making a rehousing application, or wish to discuss an existing application, the HomeChoice Bristol team can help you make sure your rehousing application is submitted correctly. The team can also provide general rehousing advice and support.

Our rehousing team can help with applications but cannot make promises about reprioritisation. We cannot prioritise Barton House residents above other rehousing applications throughout the city. All decisions made will be:

  • based on individual circumstances
  • reviewed against the evidence provided in each case
  • evaluated with reference to our rehousing criteria

If you already have a HomeChoice application and would like advice and support, email barton.house@bristol.gov.uk or speak to your housing officer.

If you haven't started your HomeChoice application yet, or are struggling to complete an online application, and would like help to apply, please contact the We are Bristol helpline on 0800 694 0184 so we can arrange support.

Staying at the Holiday Inn

Staff will be available during mealtimes throughout the week.

Meals

The current mealtimes at the Holiday Inn are:

  • Breakfast: 7am to 10am
  • Lunch: 12.30pm to 2pm and again at 4pm to 5pm
  • Dinner: 6.30pm to 9pm

The Holiday Inn will share a meal plan for lunch and dinner. This is so you can see what food will be served at the hotel every day.

If you have any further feedback on the food served at the hotel, contact hotel management.

If your family has additional needs that we're not aware of, let us know. We will contact the hotel and see what can be done.

If someone has needs which cannot be met, we can refer them to our social work team for further assessment and support. Email barton.house@bristol.gov.uk or call 0800 694 0184.

Children's afternoon activities

Children's activities are taking place every afternoon at the Holiday Inn:

  • Monday to Friday: 3pm to 6pm

The activities include crafts, storytelling, music therapy, poetry and games.

The drop-in sessions are run by Horn Youth Concern. You do not need to book.

Child supervision

We understand how difficult this time is for children and we want them to be safe while staying at Holiday Inn. 

Children and young people must be supervised if they're outside of their rooms. Be mindful of fellow residents and Holiday Inn guests and keep noise to a minimum. If you have any issues, speak to the Holiday Inn staff.

Children's stay and play mornings

Residents and children aged under 5 can play together at these sessions, Monday to Friday, between 10am and midday.
The sessions are run by Bristol City Council's Family Support team. You do not need to book.

Gym use for children

Children under the age of 16 are not allowed in the gym. Children over the age of 16 but under 18 years old can use the gym with adult supervision.

Docklands Full Circle Project

A wide range of activities are currently run as part of the Full Circle Project. These include dance for children and teenagers, Women's Yoga, coffee mornings, fitness, basketball, and table tennis. Sessions are free for Barton House residents.

All activities take place at the Docklands Community Centre, 29 Brigstocke Road, St Paul's. This is only a 10 minute walk away from the Holiday Inn.

You'll need to book a place in advance by emailing services@fullcircleproject.org.uk. Remember to tell them that you're a Barton House resident.

Baby feeding equipment

Food warming materials and sterilisers for baby feeding are now available in the dining hall.

Vacuum cleaners

An additional vacuum cleaner is kept on each floor next to security.

Prayer room

There's a prayer room at the Holiday Inn, it's next door to the children's play room.

Cleaning and laundry

Professional cleaning and housekeeping at the Holiday Inn take place once a week.

However, talk to a member of Holiday Inn staff if more frequent cleaning or housekeeping is needed for rooms, for example for:

  • spillages
  • extra bed sheets
  • soap or towels

The Holiday Inn offer washing services twice a week and can provide extra washing on request. The council will cover the costs of the service.

Healthcare needs

During the winter months, it's normal to see a rise in common infections and bugs like stomach illnesses, coughs, and colds. To reduce the chance of infection, we encourage you to wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water.

If you or anyone in your family is feeling unwell and needs medical advice, you should contact your local doctor in the normal way or call the NHS non-emergency line (111).

If you're unwell and are staying at the Holiday Inn, contact hotel management and let them know. The hotel will be able to support you by bringing meals to your room and providing additional laundry services if needed. If you need anything extra, you can call and ask reception from your room.

For anyone experiencing illness symptoms, that include diarrhoea or vomiting, we ask you and your family to stay in your room while you are unwell and not mix with other people in the hotel, to help reduce the spread of infection. The UKHSA NHS advice for diarrhoea and vomiting is to quarantine for 48 hours after the last symptoms.

To identify the cause of any illness, the council's Environmental Health team may get in touch with you so they can collect some samples to run some tests if needed.

MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine

Cases of measles are on the rise across the UK. You can find advice on the NHS website. This includes advice to parents and carers to check if their child has measles, including photos of the measles rash. The rash looks brown or red on white skin. It may be harder to see on brown and black skin.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness, so anyone with symptoms is advised to stay at home and phone their GP or NHS 111 for advice, rather than visiting their doctor's surgery or A&E, to prevent the illness spreading further: NHS Measles.

School meals and packed lunches

School meals are being offered to children and packed lunches can also be made available.

If you need these, speak to your Housing Officer, email barton.house@bristol.gov.uk or call the helpline on 0800 694 0184.

Parking

If you're staying at the Holiday Inn, parking is free of charge if you park at the hotel itself.

If you park somewhere else, you can get your money back but you will need to provide receipts to one of our Housing Officers.

Free taxi service

We're offering a free taxi service to essential locations like:

  • school
  • work
  • medical appointments
  • visiting Barton House to collect essential items
  • moving your belongings back to Barton House from Tuesday 20 February

To book a taxi, call our helpline on 0800 694 0184. This service will end on Sunday 25 February.

There can sometimes be a short wait to get through to the helpline. To avoid delays, book as far in advance as possible. For example, if you need an early morning taxi, call and book it the night before. After listening to residents' feedback, it's now possible to block book taxis for regular journeys.

Don't call a taxi company directly, as the taxi will only be free if booked through the helpline.

Post redirection

Royal Mail confirmed that from 22 January, post is being delivered to Barton House.

Stay informed

If you're a resident of Barton House, let us know the best way you would like us to keep you updated by speaking to a Bristol City Council Housing Officer.

We're currently sending updates by:

  • text
  • email
  • letters in English and other languages
  • meeting in person

We will continue to talk with residents over coming days through all methods available to us.

For those residents who have provided phone numbers and email addresses to Housing Officers, we will be providing regular updates.

If you've not managed to speak with a Housing Officer and provided contact details, make sure that we have these so that we can contact you directly.

You can also provide details by emailing barton.house@bristol.gov.uk or calling 0800 694 0184 free of charge.

Paying rent

Following consideration of the impact on residents and with reference to our own policy and national guidance, tenants will continue to be charged rent to maintain our contractual relationship with you as a tenant.

If we were to stop charging rent, any tenant of Barton House in receipt of Universal Credit or Housing Benefit would see those benefits needing to be recalculated.

If you're having difficulty paying your rent, speak to your Income Officer who can help you with relevant support and discuss your options.

Welfare Rights and Money Advice Service (WRAMAS) can provide telephone advice relating to disability and carers' benefits and Universal Credit: call 0117 35 21888 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9am-1pm speak to independent advice agencies through www.acfa.org.uk.

We'll make sure you're supported with free temporary accommodation, meals and transport as needed.

Insurance

We would not expect your normal home insurance to be affected by this incident, but because this is an arrangement between you and your insurer we cannot say for certain.

Alternative accommodation is usually covered by buildings insurance.

You may wish to speak with your insurance company if you have any questions or concerns. If this raises any issues, ask your Housing Officer for further advice.

Pets

We understand how concerning it can be to be separated from your pet. Talk to your Housing Officer about your own circumstances.

You can visit your home to feed your pet.

We'd encourage you to ask friends or family members to care for pets, where this is possible.

Unfortunately pets cannot be brought in to the Holiday Inn. Talk to your Housing Officer who will be able to help you further.

Letters to residents

We're aware of the anxiety and distress this evacuation is causing and will do our best to keep all residents up to date.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult time. Our teams will do all they can to help you, and we will keep working hard to make things better. 

Letters to residents

Feedback from Barton House resident meeting

Activities 

Previous letters to residents

Friday 16 February

Tuesday 13 February

Friday 9 February

Tuesday 6 February 

Thursday 1 February

Tuesday 30 January 

Thursday 25 January

Tuesday 23 January

Thursday 18 January

Friday 12 January

Wednesday 10 January

Tuesday 9 January

Monday 8 January

Thursday 4 January

Tuesday 2 January

Thursday 28 December

Friday 22 December

Monday 18 December

Friday 15 December

Thursday 14 December

Wednesday 13 December

Wednesday 6 December

Tuesday 5 December

Friday 1 December

Thursday 30 November

Wednesday 29 November

Tuesday 28 November

Monday 27 November

Friday 24 November

Thursday 23 November

Wednesday 22 November

Tuesday 21 November

Monday 20 November

Sunday 19 November

Afternoon

Morning

Friday 17 November

Afternoon

Morning

Thursday 16 November

Wednesday 15 November

We'll update this page with more information as it becomes available.