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Grenfell Tower disaster: Kensington and Chelsea council ‘bullied’ tenants

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
There are mounting fears the Grenfell Tower fire disaster could be repeated in London and other major British cities

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry has entered a new phase as lawyers representing the victims of the fire set out their case against the council that owned the doomed tower block.

In its latest phase, the inquiry is examining how the building was managed, including risk assessments and how complaints were handled.

Michael Mansfield QC, who represents a group of survivors and the bereaved, accused the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea of demonstrating “neglect, indifference and discrimination” towards the tenants.

He also accused the council and the Chelsea Tenant Management Organization (TMO -the body that ran the tower block and oversaw the refurbishment) of “bullying” and “stigmatizing” residents who raised safety concerns in the run-up to the deadly fire.

The Grenfell Tower block fire disaster on June 14, 2017, which claimed 72 lives, counts as the worst UK residential fire since the Second World War.

In written submissions to the inquiry, Mansfield claimed the council considered the 24-storey tower block in North Kensington as an “eyesore which required cosmetic surgery to make it more palatable to its elegant and wealthy neighbors”.  

According to Mansfield, the refurbishment which took place between 2012 and 2016 in the form of flammable cladding (which spread the deadly fire), merely gave the building a “superficial facelift while neglecting underlying deficiencies”.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the TMO are due to make their opening statements to the latest phase of the inquiry later on Monday (March 29).


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