St Jude’s Residents in Bristol Call for Action After Fires

Flat Fires St Jude’s Bristol:

Families living in blocks of flats in St Jude’s Bristol, are concerned for their safety after a spate of fires.

They are calling on Bristol City Council to make sure a plan is put in place to keep residents safe and stop it from happening in the future.

Bristol Somali Community Association, say residents are worried about repeated fires, poor security, people accessing the buildings who should not be and a lack of repairs. Worryingly, there is a CCTV camera covering problem areas, but the Association says this is used for enforcement rather than protection or crime prevention.

At a residents meeting which occurred after footage of a fire in January 2019 appeared on social media, an officer from Bristol City Council spoke to residents, including 17 worried parents.

On their Facebook page, Bristol Somali Community Association says: ‘One father who lives next to where the fire broke out complained about smoke he inhaled in his house which he needed to go to his GP. In the meeting he was still feeling unwell. One mother mentioned that she has asked number of times to the housing to change her door as she is not feeling safe because of the number of drug users using drugs next to her house. One resident say that there were today more than five drug users who aren’t resident in any of these buildings but were socialising in side of one of the buildings.’

St Jude’s is in the Lawrence Hill Ward of Bristol, the most deprived in the city. A 65.9 per cent of people live in flats with nearly 20 per cent living in overcrowded accommodation compared to the Bristol average of 5.2 per cent.

Flat Fire St Judes Bristol
A Flat Fire in St Jude’s Bristol

Bristol Somali Community Association describes the relationship between residents, councillors and MPs as ‘bad’, with residents never having ‘had the representation they deserved to have’.

The association is calling on Labour Councillor for Bristol Central Ward and Cabinet Member for Housing, Paul Smith to ‘urgently intervene’.

This month it was announced that sprinklers will be installed inside Bristol City Council’s 59 tower blocks during the next five years.

Housing cabinet member Paul Smith said on Twitter of the St Jude’s flats: ‘They all have sprinklers in their bin rooms, detailed programming for flats hasn’t been agreed yet.’

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