Bereaved families and survivors of the Grenfell fire say they, and not the government, should be the ones to decide when the tower is demolished.
The Sunday Times said ministers are set to announce the demolition of the tower amid safety concerns. Structural engineering experts have “unambiguously and unanimously” advised the tower should be “carefully taken down”.
However, survivors said they’ve had previous assurances the tower can be kept safe “for as long as it needs to be” and that it poses no risk.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) said a decision has yet to be taken.
Grenfell United, a group for survivors and bereaved families, said:
It is with shock that we read the Sunday Times 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.
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
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.
Grenfell United also touched on the implications of taking down the tower:
Given the limited legislation passed since the Grenfell fire to keep people safe in their homes, the glacial process of removing flammable cladding and the daily reports of the links between the Government and the construction industry, 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.
Moreover, the group is asking how the tower can be demolished before the legal process concludes, adding:
Justice is important to us all and anything that may prevent justice must not be an option.
Many of the Grenfell community accept the removal of the tower will always be a case of when not if, but the timeline needs to be decided by the bereaved, survivors and community, not the Government – who have done nothing to make the changes needed to prevent it happening again.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government 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.
We have now published this advice to ensure those most affected have access to the information that will inform a decision on the tower, before one is reached.
In a letter, which was posted on social media in May, the MHCLG said that it will be at least a year before any decision on the future of the tower is implemented.
This will be after the fifth anniversary of the the blaze at the tower block in west London in June 2017 that claimed 72 lives, it added.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?