Evacuation of Barton House forecast to cost Bristol City Council at least £3.5 million

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The costs are expected to significantly increase if planned surveys show the building isn’t safe for residents to return to

The evacuation of the Barton House tower block is forecast to cost Bristol City Council at least £3.5 million.

Those costs are expected to significantly increase if planned surveys show the building isn’t safe for residents to return to and the council decides to knock it down.

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Hundreds of residents living in the 14-storey tower block were evacuated on November 14 after surveys showed the building could collapse if there were a fire in a single flat. While a few residents are still living in Barton House, most are now staying in a Holiday Inn hotel.

The Holiday Inn has been block-booked until the end of January, with the council also paying for laundry, car parking, security guards, and any damage that takes place to the hotel. The cabinet will hear about the costs of the evacuation in a meeting on Tuesday, December 5.

A cabinet report said: “Further costs around home loss payments, void loss from units affected, and other compensation may also arise should a decision be required to decommission the building following further detailed analysis of the building structure.

“The contract with the hotel will account for the majority of the spend during this emergency response. We have entered into a contract with the Holiday Inn and have block booked 96 rooms, with full board provided until January 31.”

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Barton House was built in 1958 and has had “waking watch” fire marshals patrolling the building since May 2022. As there are fewer residents in the building, the chances of spotting a fire early are much less so the council will pay even more marshals to keep watch.

This extra waking watch is forecast to cost £104,200. Meanwhile, temporary fire alarms will cost £250,000, and building surveys will cost £165,600.

The Holiday Inn will cost the council £620,000 for guest rooms, £154,000 for the function room, £614,000 for food and drink, £937,000 for security and parking, £45,600 for laundry and £10,300 for cleaning.

Vulnerable tenants who find staying in hotels “very difficult” will be placed in serviced apartments, expected to cost £221,800.

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