Men demanded sex with mum living in imperial apartments by knocking on her window

A mother has claimed she was sexually harassed ‘all the time’ at the former south Bristol office block where she lives.

The resident of the Imperial Apartments – who wished to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals – claimed that on one occasion, late at night, two men knocked on her window demanding sex.

When she told them to leave her alone, they asked her to pull up her top and show them her breasts.

READ MORE: Police called Imperial Apartments 29 times a month as calls nearly doubled

These last months, BristolLive reported how several residents raised concerns about the former Parkview office complex in Hengrove – now known as Imperial Apartments.

A young mum claimed ‘they’re the worst’ and a first-time dad said he felt so unsafe living there that he slept with a hammer and screwdriver next to his bed, d other residents likening the development to storage facilities and even a prison. Another young mum said her daughter ended up in hospital due to mold in her apartment.

The mum said she had been living in a flat there since the summer and had been in “nothing but trouble” ever since.

The resident said she was sexually harassed by men “all the time”, saying the harassment was perpetrated by both residents and security personnel.

This has included asking for his phone number and even asking for sex three or four times, she claimed.

Recalling one such incident, she said: “A few guys who were in the parking lot started knocking on my window and asking me for sex.

“I was just like ‘leave me alone’ but they were asking me to pull up my top and show them my boobs.

“That was about six weeks ago.”

Shortly after moving in, the resident claimed a maintenance worker entered her apartment while she was taking a bath.

This issue of staff entering tenants’ flats without permission was acknowledged in the minutes of Bristol City Council‘s weekly meetings with developer Caridon, showing several references to such incidents.

Landlords can only enter a property with the permission of the tenant, as explained by Shelter. Entering without an appointment or authorization violates the right of the tenant to the peaceful enjoyment of his dwelling.

“He just let himself in, he didn’t even knock on the door,” she said. “I was a little shaken and scared.

“I just grabbed a towel and said ‘what are you doing?’

“He said he knocked and was there to check the washing machine.

“I had reported that I had a problem with the washing machine, but I had said that I wanted to be there when they came so they could show me how it works.

“I don’t think he should have done that. [walk into her flat].

“I reported it all the time to Caridon, but nothing is done.

“This place is getting worse and worse.”

Do you live at Imperial Apartments? How do you feel about living there? Our journalist Estel would like to hear from you. You can contact her directly on [email protected]

The mother also claimed she was hit by another resident because he thought she had stolen cigarettes from him.

The resident said she agreed with the description of “human storage” – which has been used by other tenants – and that the Imperial Apartments are no place for children.

Last month, the MP for Bristol South asked the council to stop housing families with children in the Imperial apartments, adding that any families he has already housed in the complex should be moved as soon as possible.

The Lib Dems have now joined calls for families with children to stop being housed in the controversial development, with one councilor urging Bristol City Council ‘to take responsibility’.

The resident also compared the development to the Big Brother house due to the amount of cameras there.

The mother claimed there were “lots of drugs” in the Imperial apartments, particularly alcohol, cocaine, crack and cannabis.

She said she tried to stay away from drugs, but found it very difficult there.

“I try to avoid alcohol and drugs, but here it’s just in my face and it makes it really hard for me,” she said. “I’ve been clean for a week now, I’m trying.

“If I wasn’t here, I wouldn’t – I get offered drugs all the time here.

“I can’t take it anymore, it really annoys me.”

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The living room/kitchen area of ​​one of the two bedroom apartments

Police figures showed the number of police calls to Imperial Apartments has almost doubled in the past two months.

Data from Avon and Somerset Police shows that officers were called to Imperial Apartments in Hengrove 73 times from mid-November 2021 to January 31, 2022. This means that during these two and a half months, the agents were called on average 29 times on the site each. month.

The resident said the Imperial Apartments should be closed in her view, or at least reassessed so that there is a proper reflection on who is housed at the Imperial Apartments.

She described the development as an “absolute joke” where nothing is done.

“We have to live in misery,” she continued. “There is nothing worse than living in the Imperial apartments.

“This place is pushing me to the breaking point.

“My mental health has deteriorated a lot living here and my anxiety is at its peak.

“Before, I was enjoying life and now I hardly go out because I’m afraid to leave my apartment.

“I’ve called the police several times, but I have so many issues with my mental health and I don’t have the energy to deal with it.

“I’m done with the drama, I just want a quiet, easy life.”

Bristol City Council, which leases almost 70% of the properties on the site, has previously admitted that using a former council office building in south Bristol for housing is ‘not an ideal option’ and the city’s mayor, Marvin Rees, described it as ‘the least worst option’.

However, the council defended its decision, saying the site provided accommodation for more than 200 people.

Caridon – the developer behind the controversial conversion – has previously said Bristol City Council is happy with them.

In the summer of 2020, the council revealed that it planned to house people in the complex which was being redeveloped by Caridon, a company which was the subject of a Newsnight investigation as residents of one of their developments in London complained of overcrowding, mixing of people, violence and drug abuse.

At the time, Bristol City Council housing officials admitted they were worried about teaming up with a developer accused of creating a ‘human warehouse’ – but said they were ‘committed to making this development a success and a prosperous community in which to live”.

Caridon turned it into homes without needing planning consent under permitted development rights, which meant that the usual regulations stipulating minimum sizes did not apply.

According to floor plans submitted to Bristol City Council, studios in the development start at 18m2 – which is smaller than the average of 29m2 shipping container – while two bedroom apartments on site start at 38m2 and climb to 76m2.

the the law was changed last year and now we have to build new houses under development rights permitted to be greater than 37m2with two-bedroom units measuring at least 61 m2.

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