Fury has been expressed over plans to demolish Grenfell Tower with fears it would “only serve those accused or those that haven’t acted”.
The devastating fire at the Grenfell Tower block in west London in June 2017 claimed 72 lives and highly-flammable cladding was blamed for helping the blaze spread.
Now a report by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) said consulting engineer Atkins recommended Grenfell “should be deconstructed at the earliest possible opportunity, with deconstruction commencing no later than May 2022”.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick is understood to have been warned the tower is safety risk for Kensington Aldridge Academy, a secondary school for over 1,200 children which is situated just stone’s throw away from the burnt remains.
But Grenfell United have said fewer than 10 survivors have been consulted on the matter, and the remains of Grenfell “poses no risk to the community around it”.
Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)
A statement released by the group said: “It is with shock that we read the Time article today, given the promise by the Government that no decision would be made on the future of the tower without full consultation with the bereaved and survivors.
“The Government has engaged with fewer than 10 of the bereaved and survivors on this matter, to date, and with such a wide range of viewpoints across all affected families, we struggle to understand why this would be pushed through so quickly.
“Given what we went through, safety has always been paramount and we have had previous assurances that the tower can be kept safe for as long as it needs to be, and that it poses no risk to the community around it.”
The Government has faced criticism that not enough was done either before or after the fire to protect those who live in buildings covered in the flammable cladding Grenfell was covered in, which helped the blaze spread so quickly.
Grenfell United’s statement continued: “It seems to us that removing Grenfell from the skyline while the inquiry and police investigation still continues to only serve those accused or those that haven’t acted”.
The independent Grenfell Tower Memorial Commission, made up of representatives of the bereaved, survivors and local residents, will come up with plans for a permanent memorial on the site.
The move to remove the tower has proven controversial, with some raising concerns it could wipe the memory of those who died from public conscience.
Nabil, 47, lost six family members in the inferno and told The Sunday Times the structure “represents what happened to them, otherwise people forget what happened”.
One person speaking on social media agreed and said: “It should be left as it stands, as a symbol of how austerity leads to tragedy. We will remember them.”
Others on social media have agreed with taking the tower down, saying it should have been done “years ago”.
Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)
An MHCLG spokesman said: “We know how important and sensitive this decision is and no decision has been taken.
“Following important independent safety advice from structural engineers, we are engaging closely with the community as we consider the evidence, including the safety concerns raised, and what the future of the Grenfell Tower should be.”
The news comes after Grenfell’s first ever resident told The Mirror Boris Johnson “will have blood on his hands” if more people die in “tinderbox” blocks.
Lorraine Beadle, 67, lost many friends in the 2017 fire which killed 72 people.
© Richard Ansett/ Channel 4)
And she fears the Government’s failure to remove dangerous flammable cladding from all flats means a similar horror could happen elsewhere.
Lorraine told the People: “Nothing has changed – Grenfell went up in smoke because of that cladding and there are still buildings with it on.
“Why hasn’t it all been ripped off by now? I can see another block going up in smoke like a tinderbox. My message to Boris Johnson is that if he doesn’t act now he will have blood on his hands.”
It comes as Lorraine joins other survivors in a documentary highlighting their fire safety fight with authorities.
Grenfell: The Untold Story shows footage captured by artist Constantine Gras of the block’s refurbishment.
- Grenfell: The Untold Story, Channel 4, Wednesday, 10pm