Grenfell Tower victims have accepted nine offers of permanent accommodation

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Nine offers of accommodation have been accepted by Grenfell Tower victims (Rex)

Just nine offers of permanent accommodation have been accepted by Grenfell survivors whose homes were destroyed in the devastating blaze.

The leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, Elizabeth Campbell, said she hoped more of the 180-plus households in hotels and temporary accommodation would be rehoused as soon as possible, but stressed it would be according to “their need, not speed”.

And she pledged to spend “every penny” of the council’s vast reserves on rehousing those affected by the tragedy if necessary, with £76 million set to be made available in a leadership meeting on Thursday.

She said: “It’s a lot of money, tens of millions of pounds, but that’s what that money is there for.

Leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, Elizabeth Campbell, said she hoped more households would be rehomed soon (PA)

“We’ve built up reserves and we built them up in case of emergencies, and this is an emergency.

“And we will spend that. And that’s right that we should do it – these are our neighbours.

“If you don’t spend money on your neighbours in an emergency, then when do you spend it?”

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Ms Campbell said she was “really pleased” with feedback from residents and denied that they were being made to bid against each other, saying each home would only be viewed and offered to one household at a time.

She said: “People aren’t bidding, they are saying what their preference is.

“We won’t show anyone a flat if they can’t come in and say ‘I want this flat’ and we say ‘sign up’.”

The Hortensia Flats and town houses in Chelsea, west London, will be offered to Grenfell survivors as permanent housing (PA)

She added: “Absolutely every single person will be phoned up, we will engage one-to-one and we will do it with them.”

People will have until September 1 to register their preference on the website, but Ms Campbell said those who felt unable to engage would be pro-actively approached and helped.

She was speaking at one of the flats earmarked for Grenfell survivors on Hortensia Road – one of 105 properties acquired by the council following the tragedy.

The other two locations are Kensington Row, with 68 units and Tavistock Crescent with six properties, while one other house is also available.

The bathroom of a two bedroom flat that will be offered to Grenfell victims (PA)

Since August 21, survivors have been able to browse brochures and register their interest in permanent homes in the three locations on a website set up by the council.

Some 134 people have logged in to the website and expressed an interest within the first three days, said Ms Campbell.

At least 20 permanent offers have been made, and 31 viewings conducted, the council said.

One of the 23 households in temporary accommodation, initially accepted on a 12-month basis, decided they wanted to make their new home permanent, it added.

Ms Campbell said she would consider “all options” for future management of the estate, after the Prime Minister told residents the tenant management organisation (TMO) would stop overseeing it.

Some 180-plus households found themselves homeless after the blaze (Rex)

Theresa May acknowledged concerns about the culture of the council, the pace of its response following the fire and the TMO during a meeting with residents on Tuesday evening.

Ms Campbell said she had written to the TMO seeking a “swift transition” of responsibilities from the Lancaster West estate to the council and promised to consult with residents about future plans.

She said: “We wrote to the TMO yesterday and said that we didn’t think the most viable option was to work with them going forward.”

Asked if she would consider introducing a managing structure where residents had a central part, she said: “I think we will consider all options. The only option we won’t consider is the TMO continuing.”