Thursday 22 June: Statement from Cllr Nicholas Paget-Brown

Responding to the Prime Minister’s speech this morning (22 June), Councillor Nicholas-Paget-Brown, Leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council stated:

The Grenfell Tower fire has been a catastrophe.  We are so sorry for all the victims, their families, friends and the other residents.

Council workers have been on duty around the clock since 1.30am on the day of the fire, helping local residents and the families of the victims.  I have nothing but praise for their truly heroic efforts.

However, although individual Council officers have worked so hard and delivered so much, it is clear that there has been a failing in our collective response.  We could have done a better job at co-ordinating what happened on the ground and we weren’t able to re-home people as fast as we would have liked.  We are truly sorry for that.  This is a tragedy of enormous proportions, and it has overwhelmed our normal capacity.

“We are incredibly grateful for the support we have received from the community, the Emergency Services, hospital staff, charities, the Government and other local authorities in London, as well as our own staff.

We have now secured temporary accommodation for 250 households pending permanent rehousing.  No one has been housed outside of London.  Work is underway to assess the housing needs of all Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk families to identify suitable accommodation.  All the identified properties are in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea, or a neighbouring borough, and none will be in towers.

“We have assigned a social worker to every affected household that wants one, both those from Grenfell Tower and other families who live near the tower and have been affected. They will act as the key point of contact to ensure that residents get the support they need.

We have a community assistance centre at the Westway that has been in operation since Wednesday 14 June providing a hub for our relief efforts.  We have also opened a further centre specifically for the friends and family of the victims and the missing.

People rightly have many questions about this tragedy, and they will be answered. Lessons will be learned from the Grenfell Tower fire and the Government has launched a full public inquiry. We will cooperate in full with this and all other investigations.”

Wednesday 21 June: Statement from Cllr Nicholas Paget-Brown

“For many of us, Wednesday 21 June will be a day of remembrance for the victims and the residents of Grenfell Tower, as we mark a week since the start of the tragic fire.

“We remain heart-broken by the appalling loss of life and we are doing everything we can to help the families of the victims and the residents to get the help they need as they try to rebuild their lives.

“We have now allocated a social worker to every household from Grenfell Tower, plus other families who live near the tower and that have been affected. They have been visiting families since last week and will be a key support for families going forward.

“As of yesterday (20 June), a total of 250 households had been placed in temporary accommodation pending permanent rehousing. The Government has committed to re-housing all residents within three weeks of the disaster and as close to the Grenfell Tower as possible. We are committed to helping deliver that promise, and no residents have been offered accommodation outside of central London.

“The community assistance centre at Westway has been in operation since last Wednesday morning. In addition to the centre at Westway, which will continue to offer support to the community, we will also be opening a further centre specifically for the friends and family of the victims and the missing, details of which will be provided in the next 24 hours.

“We would like to offer our heartfelt thanks to the community, the Emergency Services, hospitals, charities, volunteer groups, the Government and neighbouring local authorities and to our own teams who have been working tirelessly to try and help all those affected by this terrible event. We are enormously grateful for their support.

“We are deeply sorry for all those affected and today we will remember the victims and stand with the residents and our community.”

 

From Nicholas Paget-Brown, Leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea:

We are all heart-broken by the tragic fire and the appalling loss of life at Grenfell Tower.

This is a terrible and shocking event and our hearts go out to the victims, their families and friends and to the residents and wider community.

We are also in awe at the strength, compassion and resolve of the residents and community in coming together to help the survivors and the friends and family of the victims.

The Emergency Services, hospital staff, charities, and our own teams have been working tirelessly to try and help all those affected by this appalling event.

We are working with Government, charities, volunteer and resident groups and the emergency services to help re-house and assist all those affected.

Of course, people rightly have questions and they will be answered. Lessons must be learned from the Grenfell Tower fire and the Government has launched a full public inquiry. We and the Council will cooperate in full with this and all other investigations.

We are deeply sorry for all those affected and will do everything we can do to help them repair and rebuild their lives.

Cabinet changes for the coming year

Madam Mayor

Welcome and congratulations on your new position. We look forward to you presiding over our business for the forthcoming year.

Traditionally, this is the meeting (Council AGM Wed 24 May) where we make new appointments and announce changes. This year is no exception, as you will see from the papers laid around the chamber I am proposing a number of changes tonight. Continue reading

My response to the London Bridge and Borough Market atrocities

As we all know, a fresh horror was visited on London over the weekend.  Evil being ingenious, there were one or two innovations, such as fake suicide belts.  But there was also much that was grimly familiar: grown men drunk on the power of violence without limit, gleefully targeting innocent Londoners for murder and mutilation. Continue reading

Social housing – an important resource that must be protected and used properly

Sometimes I wonder where some newspapers would be if they didn’t have a regular flow of stories about the mindboggling cost of housing in Kensington and Chelsea. You know the sort of thing – a rich and famous person buys a huge house costing the GDP of a medium-sized country. Or perhaps you will recall stories about tiny garages that sell for an amount of money that would supposedly buy a whole street in a northern city.

It’s all par for the course and the cost of buying a home, or indeed renting, in the Royal Borough can be enormous. But something that can be forgotten in this house price frenzy is that about a quarter of households in the borough live in social housing. Continue reading