A 300-metre exclusion zone is likely to remain in place for the remainder of today as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team works to make safe and remove a WWII bomb discovered in Lansdown.
The discovery of the unexploded bomb at the former Royal High Junior School happened yesterday afternoon.
The EOD are currently building a barrier around the 500lb device using 250 tonnes of sand.
Once this barrier is in place, they will remove the device with a police escort to a safe location away from the Bath area where they will carry out a controlled explosion.
Residents living inside the exclusion zone have already been asked to evacuate their homes, with a number taking refuge in the Pavilion by Bath Rec before being moved to the Guildhall.
Avon and Somerset police are working closely with their partners at Bath & North East Somerset Council, South West Ambulance Service and Avon Fire and Rescue to look after those temporarily evacuated.
Once outside the exclusion zone, residents are not being allowed to re-enter while the incident is on-going, which at this stage is believed may be up to 48 hours.
Some residents inside the cordon have chosen to remain in their homes and they continue to be advised to move to a safe distance. Those who have remained inside the exclusion zone will be prevented from moving within 100m of the device for their own safety.
Over 1000 properties have been evacuated overnight. A number of those evacuated are now being looked after at the Guildhall in Bath.
Police have closed a number of roads around the area, including:
- Lansdown Road (North)
- St Stephen’s Court
- Lansdown Grove
- Lansdown Road (South)
- St James’s Park
- Lansdown Crescent
- Upper Lansdown Mews
- Richmond Road
- Mount Road
- St Stephen’s Road
- Camden Crescent
- Junction of Upper and Lower Hedgemead Road
- Lansdown Road (South)
- Murford Street
- Balance Street
- Portland Place (Julian Road end)
- Harley Street
- Northampton Street
- St James’s Sq (junction of Great Bedford Street)
- Park Street (cross roads)
- Upper Lansdown Mews (junction Dixon Gardens)
T/Chief Inspector Kevin Thatcher said: “We recognise the disruption this incident has already caused to residents inside the exclusion zone and we’d like to thank them for their patience.
“Decisions to evacuate houses are never taken lightly but during these incidents public safety will always be our primary concern.
“We also appreciate the anxiety many in the local community may feel following the discovery device and the time required to remove it but we would urge people not to be alarmed.
“The EOD are working as quickly as they can to remove the device and we will provide regular updates on their progress.”
St Andrew’s Primary School, St Stephen’s Primary School and Weston All Saints Primary School have all been closed today due to the disruption to transport.
St James’s Surgery has been closed and will remain shut until Monday 16th May. The Junction Road surgery is still open. Their number is 01225 422012.
The company redeveloping the former Royal High Junior School site, Acorn Property Group, released the following statement:
“Safety is of paramount importance to Acorn and following the discovery, the site team immediately instigated health and safety procedures and alerted the police.”
Acorn’s Robin Squire, Regional Managing Director of Acorn Bristol said: “We are extremely grateful for the safe discovery of the bomb and we are co operating with the Police and Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams to assist with its safe removal.”
Bath & North East Somerset Council released the following statement at 3pm:
“Work is still underway to make the bomb safe in preparation for removal. Public safety is the highest priority and the bomb can only be removed when it is safe to do so – but it is hoped this can take place during the early evening.
“There may therefore be disruption to city centre roads so road users are advised to allow extra time. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and thank the public for their patience.
“We will keep the public updated on the removal process.”