THINK was at the Grenfell fire response meeting at Notting Hill Methodist Church this week.
Grenfell survivors and relatives of victims present, as well residents from blocks in the immediate vicinity and residents from neighbouring streets in the area.
The quality of air around the area during and after the fire came up for discussion. We know that one survivor sadly lost her baby due to cyanide poisoning and that 12 survivors were also treated in hospital for this. Despite reassurances given that the air quality around the area is safe, we know that many in surrounding area during the fire and just after have had respiratory problems and a few at the meeting mentioned this.
One distraught father of a young girl who died in the fire made it clear his distrust of the council and questioned the figures of the deceased.
Other relatives of victims spoke of not being able to access help as they didn’t live in the area.
Some residents from neighbouring blocks spoke about how they weren’t being offered help and the poor communication they had received from the council. Others made clear their understandable anger with the council and its many failings. It is more than clear to most around here that it is wholly inappropriate and wrong that this council who made the decisions regarding the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower should not be in charge and many of those affected are not only highly traumatised but also very angry with RBKC.
Readers of this blog and locals will know that the Grenfell Action Group warned of this disaster years before it happened and RBKC ignored them and even bullied and insulted them in response. Other residents’ groups had also many issues concerning the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower in the past, which they had little to no say in.
We at THINK also believe that this refurbishment added to the casualties and fatalities and the main purpose was to make the tower more aesthetically pleasing to wealthier residents.
See this excellent piece from the Grenfell Action Group here :https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2017/06/29/grenfell-tower-the-truth-will-out/
We also note that their “regeneration” plans have only been put on hold for 6 months and as some THINKers have themselves been under threat of social cleansing, that it is likely that RBKC will go ahead with this on the quiet, picking smaller low density blocks that are not considered part of an “estate” to begin with.
It is all very well for Kim Taylor-Smith and Elizabeth Campbell to say sorry at every meeting but the vast majority of residents here have no confidence in them – they are part of the system of failure that led to this tragedy and we do not trust them to oversee what happens to the residents next, especially as they have been planning to socially cleanse North Kensington for years and have colluded with their colleagues to treat this community with contempt.
We at THINK do not trust any from the ruling Conservatives at RBKC to still be in charge of dealing with the crisis our community is in. Especially since many of the same people oversaw the TMO, continuously failed the residents of Grenfell Tower with tragic consequences and North Kensington as a whole no longer has any confidence in them. This is no time for politicians to posture and speak empty rehearsed phrases and gestures; it is time this council was put into special measures with input from the local North Kensington community.