Vicky Barton, who lives in nearby Fairfield Road, said: "We were told to get out about half an hour ago.
"I was in the middle of doing some decorating and didn't have a clue what was happening until I nipped out to the bin and one of my neighbours said we'd have to leave.
"There are lots of police and The Army there.
"We are at the Spa Royal Hall where we are being given refreshments but it is quite a big cordon around West Street, Richmond Street, New Burlington Road, Fairfield Road and Bow Street.
"I asked if we'd be sleeping rough tonight and they said we should be back in our homes in a few hours."
Police have told the public to avoid the area.