Julia Hartley-Brewer: ‘Let’s use Grenfell site for safe social housing for all that need it, not a memorial’

Julia Hartley-Brewer: ‘Let’s use Grenfell site for safe social housing for all that need it, not a memorial’

Friday, August 3, 2018

Robert Atkinson, a Labour councillor in Kensington and Chelsea said that his priority would be social housing on the site but that it did not “necessarily have to be a tower”.

“Local people are relieved that the tower has finally been covered,” Atkinson said.

“I don’t know why but psychologically for everyone it is better it is now covered but I remind you it took getting onto 12 months to do that.

“I think people want the tower to be taken down as quickly as possible which in itself is going to be an engineering problem.

“It is very important that the local people decide what goes in its place.

“I think we are a long way away from construction and planning but yes, we need to have an appropriate memorial and we need to have appropriate facilities for local people in the area.

“It is a deprived area and certainly my priority would be social housing but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a tower and it doesn’t have to be exactly on the old footprint of the tower.”

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) will remain legal owners of the building, but the Government will make operational decisions until its fate is decided, the MHCLG said on Wednesday.

Grenfell Inquiry was ‘haphazard and a mess’

Human rights lawyer Peter Herbert has said that local people do not want social housing on the Grenfell site and that “it was low down the list” for them.

“One of the things I think people are concerned about is making sure there is full and proper consultation,” Herbert told Hartley-Brewer.

“There certainly wasn’t when the public inquiry was done, it was haphazard and a mess quite frankly .

“We would like to see proper and full, respectful consultation with the community about the memorial for the site.

“I think the thought that it could be possibly social housing is way down the list and certainly any commercial development is completely off the table whatsoever.

“I think it is not only the police investigation has to be ongoing and thorough which we hope it will be, but there is no hesitation in bringing those responsible to justice.”


Relocation of Grenfell residents ‘happening at an incredibly slow pace’

When asked by Hartley-Brewer about the slow relocation of Grenfell residents and the number who remained in temporary accommodation, Atkinson said it was happening but “at an incredibly slow pace”.

“It is happening but it is still happening at an incredibly slow pace.

“I think the government actually needs to have a social housing policy for the whole of London because this tragedy was in the context of a housing crisis anyway.

“The thing I have been concerned about from the very beginning that the cost of rehousing those affected by Grenfell isn’t made solely at the expense of the people on the social housing list.”

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

“Here’s a solution, let’s use that site and build some amazing safe social housing for all the people who need it as opposed to focusing on everything being a memorial, and actually getting some good out of all of this horrific event.” Hartley-Brewer said.