Grenfell Tower will come under Government control once detectives wrap up their 13-month investigation at the site. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) announced it would take over legal responsibilities instead of Kensington and Chelsea Council this month. It followed anger among survivors and bereaved families at the prospect of the tower’s remains being handed to the council, as the legal owner. Officials from the authority were likewise reluctant to trigger sensitivities through any involvement, with anger still simmering over the role it played in the botched refurbishment blamed for fuelling the fire. Specialist teams from Scotland Yard have been picking through the remnants of the blaze as part of a vast investigation into the disaster on June 14 last year. The husk of the west London block is now shrouded in white sheeting while those touched by the tragedy decide on its future. The Government has re-committed today to putting the #GrenfellTower bereaved, survivors and community at the heart of deciding what happens to the future of the site.
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) will remain legal owners of the building, but the Government will make operational decisions until its fate is decided, the MHCLG said on Wednesday. Natasha Elcock, a survivor from Grenfell Tower and member of survivor and bereaved group Grenfell United, said: “We are relieved that the Government has listened to us and stepped in to make sure that RBKC will not be managing site and will have no involvement in any decisions about the site. “It’s hard to put into words how personal what happens to the site is to all of us who lived in the tower, lost loved ones in the fire, and for the wider community. “The people we lost that night will be forever in our hearts and it will be survivors, bereaved families and the community that will make decisions together about what happens to the site now and how we remember the loved ones we lost.” The Government will take decisions about the site including security arrangements, safety, and access. This will then be put into action by the independent team who has overseen day-to-day management of the site since last July, led by Doug Patterson, chief executive of Bromley Council. A formal agreement will be finalised in the autumn, the MHCLG said. The move paves the way for the creation of a “fitting memorial” once the tower is demolished, the shape of which is being planned by survivors and bereaved. The MHCLG reaffirmed the Prime Minister’s “own personal commitment” that the process will be led by those affected and the wider community. Survivors and bereaved families will take control of the site once an “appropriate body” representing them has been established. Core participants and expert witnesses to the public inquiry still require access to the site, the Government said, which “must continue to take priority”.