Grenfell Tower to be handed back to council despite residents' concerns

Grenfell Tower to be handed back to council despite residents' concerns

Monday, July 30, 2018

Grenfell Tower is to be handed back to the council when the police investigation into the fire ends.

The tower will be given back to Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council imminently when the site is no longer classified as a crime scene, but local residents are not happy with the decision, the Guardian reports.

They had expected the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to set up an independent organisation to take charge of the tower, rather than the local council.

Some 71 people died in the blaze last June.

'Conflict of interest'

Adel Chaoui of Grenfell United told the Guardian: “It’s a huge conflict of interest and distressing to the victims that RBKC, who are under investigation for corporate manslaughter, will have anything more to do with Grenfell tower, even in name.

“The government has had over a year to come up with other solutions and we’ve told them exactly how survivors and bereaved feel about this.”

It’s likely that the tower will be demolished when forensic investigations are complete, and there had been suggestions a memorial to the 71 residents who lost their lives would be erected.

Read more: Watch talkRADIO's documentary Grenfell Tower: One Year On

The council gave assurances that the residents of the area would be involved in any future decisions for the site.

“It is right that the Grenfell community – the bereaved, survivors and residents – decides on the future of the tower site. They must have full control to shape the legacy of Grenfell following this tragedy,” said a spokesperson.

“The council’s only role should be to help make this happen. Earlier this year we signed up to a set of principles with the government committing to this and our position has not, nor will, change. The community decides.”

'No regeneration without veto of residents'

In June, local resident Piers Thompson told talkRADIO that there was concern in the area that “once the tower’s down and everyone’s forgotten about it and moved on, they’ll be back and wanting to knock down our homes.”

He had campaigned against redevelopment of the nearby Silchester Estate.

Deputy council leader Kim Taylor-Smith, who is in charge of the rehoming efforts of residents who lived in the tower, said “the council had given a “blanket commitment on all estates that there would be no regeneration without the veto of the local residents.”

He said “90% of residents” had chosen a new home when talkRADIO spoke to him last month, and “only five people in hotels are yet to make a decision”.

The Guardian reports that 39 families are still in hotels but 25 have homes ready for them