WWII bunker found in South Bristol primary now repaired

May 01 2020
WWII bunker found in South Bristol primary now repaired

The work forms part of a £2.5million programme of repairs over the next 12 months to primary schools and other Bristol City Council buildings.

World War Two bunkers have been unearthed beneath the playgrounds of four Bristol primary schools in the last year, including one in Totterdown, council papers reveal.

Two of the air raid shelters have been filled in because of their “very dangerous” condition and the other two require the same work, according to a report to the local authority’s cabinet.

They form part of a £2.5million programme of repairs over the next 12 months to primary schools and other Bristol City Council buildings.

The two that have already been filled are at Hillcrest Primary in Totterdown and Chester Park Infants, while £75,000 has now been assigned to make the bunkers discovered at Two Mile Hill and Air Balloon Primary safe.

A report to cabinet members, who met remotely on Tuesday, April 28, said: “Last year we identified four schools with underground air raid shelters below their playgrounds.

“Following reports for a structural engineer, it was identified that these were in a poor condition and required to be infilled. 

“Two of the structures were in very dangerous condition and were dealt with last year.”

The £2.5million capital works for 2019/20 include repairs to leaky and crumbling roofs, Victorian windows and doors and even a slippy mortuary floor.

Some are required to fulfil legal obligations or to avoid possible litigation from statutory bodies while others are to ensure health and safety standards or simply so the buildings can continue to be used.

Bristol mayor Marvin Rees told members: “These are hugely important to the quality of life and education of so many people in Bristol.

“While it sounds run of the mill, these are hugely significant.”

The work includes:

Henleaze Infants School – £100,000

Removal of bund wall and brickwork supporting an oil tank which previously supplied the school’s boilers.

Their condition is deteriorating and there is “evidence of ground contamination for oil”.

The report said: “Until investigations have been undertaken to determine the extent of contamination, the full cost of the works are unknown.

“There is evidence of oil seepage through the wall to the basement steps.

“We have a duty to ensure this contamination does not enter the drainage system or any local water course.

“If contaminated water enters the drainage system to a local water course, the city council could be fined.”

Flax Bourton Mortuary – £30,000

The floor to the main autopsy room has an ongoing “slip resistance” problem.

“If these works are not undertaken, the health and safety risk will result in the autopsy room having to be closed,” the report said.

Holymead Primary School – £40,000

Replacement of sections of Bath stone copings to the gables which are starting to crack and fall into the playground.

Ashton Gate Primary – £70,000

New fire alarm after current one was judged to be “inadequate” during a fire risk assessment.

St Werburghs Primary – £80,000

Timber windows and doors in the old Victorian part of the school are no longer economical to repair and there is a possibility the glazing could fall out.

Broomhill Junior – £80,000

Boundary fencing is in a “very poor condition or missing” and is causing the school “safeguarding” issues.

A nearby development could contribute to some or all of the costs.

Air Balloon Primary – £80,000

Timber doors and windows need replacing with like-for-like as the site is listed.

Knowle West Children’s Centre – £100,000

Replacement of a 50m boundary wall, in discussion with the school to meet its needs.

Costs could reduce if it is replaced with fencing but it would need to be suitable to meet safeguarding responsibilities.

St Werburghs Primary – £35,000

The dance hall floor is breaking up and splintering, causing health and safety issues for children who use the area barefooted.

The Create Centre – £20,000

Alterations and refurbishment of the men’s toilet for public visitors, following improvements to the women’s loos last year.

Filton Avenue Nursery – £100,000

Replacement of heating system, including the plant and pipework.

Central Library – £70,000

The condition of the flat roof is beyond repair, with leaks affecting the building’s internal fabric and damaging books.

Cabot Primary – £150,000

New roof is needed because the number of leaks is “now having an effect on the operation of the school”.

Shirehampton public hall – £150,000

The pitched slate roof will be replaced because of “major leaks”.

St Johns Primary – £110,000

Leaky roof needs replacing.

City Hall – £30,000

Drainage will be upgraded to sort issues with “water ponding” on the flat roof, resulting in leaks.

St Philips Marsh Nursery – £250,000

The heating system is “constantly failing” and will be replaced.

Fair Furlong Primary – £300,000 (from a different 2019/20 capital programme)

The heating system is over 40 years old and it is becoming difficult to obtain parts for the boilers.

 It will be replaced along with the pipework throughout the school, including any asbestos work required.

Works at buildings across the city to meet statutory obligations

Asbestos management – £150,000

Remedial works identified following fire risk assessments – £500,000

Compliant glazing – £50,000

Water hygiene, to meet obligations under control-of-legionella regulations – £100,000

The cabinet report said no buildings would be shut during the works but that the coronavirus would impact spending priorities.