Ministers are expected to announce that Grenfell Tower will be demolished over safety concerns, more than four years after the fire tore through the west London block of flats and killed 72 people.
The development has been met with shock by those affected by the tragedy who say they were promised no decision would be made without the full consultation of survivors and bereaved families.
Structural engineering experts hired by the government have “unambiguously and unanimously” advised that the tower should be “carefully taken down” for the safety of the local community, The Sunday Times reported.
Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, was also told that the building poses a risk to nearby school, Kensington Aldridge Academy.
Government officials have told bereaved families to expect a decision on the future of the tower block later this month.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) took over ownership of the building in 2018 and told families and survivors that the tower block would not be pulled down before the fifth anniversary of the fire in June 2022.
In response to the latest development, Grenfell United, which represents survivors and bereaved families, said: “The government has engaged in fewer than 10 of the bereaved and survivors on this matter and with such a wide range of viewpoints across all affected families, we struggle to understand why this would be pushed through so quickly.”
Criticising the “limited legislation” which has been passed since the Grenfell fire “to keep people safe in their homes”, the organisation said in a statement: “How can the tower be demolished before the legal process concludes when no judge in the land can confirm it won’t hinder future criminal prosecutions?
“Justice is important to us all and anything that may prevent justice must not be an option.”
It added that while many in the community accepted the demolition of the tower was inevitable, the timeline needs to be decided by survivors, the bereaved and the community.
Since the Grenfell fire in June 2017, a number of proposals on what should happen to the tower have been put forward, including turning it into a vertical forest.
An MHCLG spokesperson said:â¯“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.”