Grenfell Tower survivor confronts Kensington council leader Elizabeth Campbell live on air

Two months have passed since the inferno at Grenfell Tower

Two months have passed since the inferno at Grenfell Tower

Friday, August 18, 2017

An angry resident of Grenfell Tower confronted council leader Elizabeth Campbell live on Sam Delaney's talkRADIO show, asking why she hasn't held a large public meeting for all residents to voice their opinion.

Tiago Alves, who fled his flat with his family as the fire converged on June 14, eventually pressed Campbell to agree to organise a meeting for those displaced and affected by the disaster.

Campbell, who was confirmed leader on July 19, also faced victims' lawyer John Cooper in a remarkable segment of our Drivetime show.

Alves asked the council leader: "Why is it that when you meet up with residents you go directly to the hotels and you give little amount of time to prepare? Why don’t you give one large meeting for all residents so everyone can have a voice?"

Campbell replied that "the council would be very happy to plan a meeting like this but quite a lot of residents I’ve met on a one to one basis don’t feel that they want to go to large meetings.

"I’m really happy to go to to [the meetings] that I’m invited to. The idea of going to the hotels was just to see people on an individual basis."

This response cut little ice with Alves, who said only one resident he knew had been to Campbell's hotel meetings.

He also suggested that, rather than simply attending the meetings, Campbell should actually be proactive and organise one herself.

Campbell eventually said she'd be happy to organise a meeting, prompting Sam to offer to facilitate the organisation of such an event.

'Why can't the residents go in?'

Cooper, meanwhile, demanded to know Campbell's view on whether residents should be allowed to visit the tower to conduct their own investigations, alongside the official inquiry.

Campbell repeatedly demurred when pressed on the matter, saying it was a police decision - eventually forcing Sam to intervene.

The politician also insisted that work to rehouse those displaced by the fire is going well, claiming "the permanent flats that I’ve seen in Kensington and in Chelsea are of the absolute highest standard I mean they are really of a high quality."

Sam responded by pointing out that many residents are rejecting the new homes, which suggests they may not be of the highest standard.

Campbell said: "If people decide that they don’t want to live there I don’t think it's about the quality. It might be not the area they want to be in - they might want to be closer to North Kensington. Sometimes the flats are bigger and the families have split so they want to have more single beds rather than three-bedroom [room].

"People are perfectly within their rights [to say no to offers of acomodation] and that’s what we’ve seen".

On the broader issue of housing policy, she hoped her legacy would be to build more social housing, saying 400 extra social properties were needed across the borough and residents will be consulted in the process - starting with the Lancaster West estate.

Listen to the full interview above