Grenfell bereaved welcome veto status over any development plans

Survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire have welcomed a Government pledge to give bereaved families the final say on what happens to the site.

It was confirmed on Thursday that the community will lead the decision-making on what happens to the site, "with the voice of the bereaved carrying the most weight".

It means those affected by the blaze will be "given a veto on all future decisions, equivalent to a 50% representative vote", the Government said.

Suggestions for the site include a memorial to those who died, as well as potentially renaming the nearby Latimer Road Underground Station. The community will also be able to block any plans to redevelop Grenfell for new housing.

The Grenfell Tower site in west London will not be redeveloped without the community members' agreement (PA Wire / Jonathan Brady)
The Grenfell Tower site in west London will not be redeveloped without the community members' agreement (PA Wire / Jonathan Brady)

Those who escaped the blaze said the future of the west London site, where the charred building provides a daily reminder of the tragedy, has been the subject of concern in the months since.

Shahin Sadafi, chair of the Grenfell United survivors' group, said:  "The future of Grenfell Tower site has been a major source of anxiety for the bereaved, survivors and local community not least because it is the final resting place of the loved ones we lost in the fire.

"We are pleased that eight months on from the fire we finally have agreement that the bereaved, survivors and community will be at the heart of deciding the legacy of the site.

Shahin Sadafi (centre) with members of the Grenfell community Bellal Elguenuni and Natasha Ellcock at the Pride of Britain Awards 2017 in October (PA Wire / Ian West)
Shahin Sadafi (centre) with members of the Grenfell community Bellal Elguenuni and Natasha Ellcock at the Pride of Britain Awards 2017 in October (PA Wire / Ian West)

"We hope working together to create a fitting memorial will be part of a healing process for everyone affected.

"The Government and Kensington and Chelsea Council have treated this issue with dignity and respect.

"We can only hope the Government applies the same seriousness to our need for truth and justice at the Inquiry, this includes listening to our requests for changes to ensure a thorough Inquiry.

"Our door will always be open for genuine cooperation on substantive issues."

The commitment comes eight months on from the fire which killed 71 people.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said: "I am pleased that after hearing the concerns raised by the community, the Government and Kensington and Chelsea Council have confirmed there are no existing plans for the site on which the tower stands.

"I have always been clear that only by first listening to the community can we begin to rebuild their trust. This public commitment is a demonstration of us being true to that word and I am pleased we have been able to agree a way forward."

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