On 19th July RBKC decided to acquire a long leasehold interest in 4 Hortensia Road SW10 to provide 31 flats as affordable housing for survivors of the fire at Grenfell Tower.
On 20th July RBKC made the following further decisions:
- That the ‘Special Dispensation’ Rehousing Policy is implemented for the following reasons:
- To ensure that residents whose homes have been destroyed by the Grenfell Tower fire are prioritised for rehousing to permanent social housing.
- To aim to honour the Government’s commitment to provide a home in social housing for the former residents of Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk within the period of one year.
- To ensure that all former residents of Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk will have choice with regard to their permanent home, and that their individual needs and wishes will be taken into account.
- To ensure former residents of Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk are given the opportunity to move from temporary housing into permanent housing as soon as possible.”
“The Council seeks to find a balance between consultation with residents with the need to offer them vacant social housing as soon as it becomes available. The Council seeks to find this balance by implementing the policy to facilitate the prioritisation and rehousing of residents while keeping the policy under review and subject to consultation for a three month period. Therefore, the Council may seek to amend the Special Dispensation Rehousing Policy where feedback from former residents of Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk recommends that such amendments will benefit this community as a whole.”
- The households that have been displaced by the fire in Grenfell Tower will be moving into temporary and permanent housing with very few of their own belongings. The Council therefore approved a budget of £600,000 for a resettlement package to support residents who have been displaced by the Grenfell Tower fire. The Council would therefore enter into a contract with John Lewis for Business and another contract with Focus on Furnishings to supply a range of products and services to assist residents to resettle into new homes. There would also be a waiver of the Council’s requirements to go out to tender for these supplies due to the emergency nature of the need.
The Chelsea Society is appalled by the devastation caused by the fire, and sends its sincere condolences to the people affected.
The Society welcomes the Government’s commitment to a public inquiry chaired by a judge, and we will campaign for any changes which may be necessary for tower blocks having regard to its findings. The Society also expresses its support to everyone who is dealing with the aftermath of this dreadful tragedy in our Borough.
The Society also encourages its members to contribute to the relief funds which have been established.
The Government has appointed Sir Martin Moore-Bick as chairman of the public Inquiry, which will consider the cause of the fire, why it spread, and what might have been done to prevent it or mitigate its consequences. In our view the Inquiry should also consider the specification and testing of materials which are used in many tower blocks in many cities, and make recommendations for any amendment of the national building regulations and fire regulations which may be necessary. The Inquiry should also consider what lessons can be learned from the immediate response to the disaster by the fire service, the health service, and by the local authority and others, and whether further arrangements need to be made by central government to give immediate help to local authorities who may be overwhelmed by a disaster of this magnitude.
The tragic fire led to the resignations of the Council’s Chief Executive, Nicholas Holgate, on 19 June, and on 30 June of the Leader of the Council, Councillor Paget-Brown, the Deputy Leader, Councillor Feilding-Mellen, and the Chief Executive of the Tenant Management Organisation, Robert Black. The Inquiry may be expected to consider their role in the events leading up to the disaster, and their response to it.
On 19th July 2017 Councillor Elizabeth Campbell, of Royal Hospital Ward, was elected as the new Leader of the Council. She committed the Council to
- building or buying 400 social housing units over the next five years
- investment in 31 homes in Hortensia Road
- working with central Government to secure a deal for North Kensington which will allow the authority freedom to borrow against the Housing Revenue Account and have more flexibility in how to use money from right-to-buy sales
- a commitment that Grenfell survivors and their families will have the determining say on the future of the Tower site