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Grenfell Tower fire: Council splits with group responsible for running its properties

Residents had lost trust in the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO), which will have its contract with the council terminated

Housing following the Grenfell disaster dominated the Kensington and Chelsea full council meeting on Wednesday (September 28), with the local authority unanimously agreeing to terminate its contract with the body responsible for running the tower.

Deputy leader Kim Taylor-Smith said the under fire Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) no longer had the trust of the residents, and that a process to replace it would now begin.

During the meeting volunteers who have been helping survivors of the fire say the stress of living in hotels is causing mental health issues and claimed it may lead to suicides.

A woman claimed a mum was left in hysterics after out-of-date milk she had been given to feed her nine-week-old baby at The Curve assistance centre had left the child ill.

The meeting started with a minute’s silence, before council leader Elizabeth Campbell, who was again heckled , provided an update on rehousing figures during her update on the recovery programme.

She revealed:

  • 173 households have received offers of temporary accommodation.
  • 53 households have accepted offers of temporary accommodation.
  • 64 households have received offers of permanent accommodation.
  • 53 households have accepted offers of permanent accommodation.
  • Six households have moved into permanent accommodation.

This was the second full council meeting since the disaster, and was attended by noticeably fewer survivors than the first as the meeting clashed with the inaugural AGM of Grenfell United, a move which the council was repeatedly criticised for.

Newly elected leader Elizabeth Campbell addresses the chamber at the previous council meeting(Image: Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Discussing the split with the TMO, which has already been stripped of responsibility for the Lancaster West Estate , of which Grenfell Tower was part of, Cllr Taylor-Smith said emphasis must be made to “draw the relationship to a close in an orderly fashion”, and that residents would be consulted on how they want their homes managed in the future.

On the issue of rehousing , Cllr Campbell said the council had purchased 120 homes while a further 20 purchases were in the hands of solicitors and 20 more under negotiation.

“I am confident the number of people moving in to new homes will increase dramatically in the coming months,” she said.

Labour group leader Robert Atkinson condemned the slow rate of progress in rehousing survivors, saying: “The council needs to be doing more and needs to be doing it faster.”

One Grenfell Tower resident, who gave his name only as Paul, addressed the town hall, saying: “I’m asking you, I’m pleading with you to ask the government for more money so we can get out of the hotels and get on with our lives.

“I can’t move on with my life until I have somewhere to call my home.”

Ms Campbell said victims were being advised by the North Kensington Law Centre, but a local activist attacked the council for voting to cut the centre’s funding, rendering it “ineffective”.

Labour group leader Robert Atkinson said: "The council seems to try all the wrong decision before stumbling into doing the right thing"(Image: PA)

Isis Amlak, a member of the Grenfell Action Group, said: “What a surprise you are using the North Ken Law Centre. I remember when you cut it and cut it and cut it until it was more or less ineffective.

“It could have been there to represent the disabled people who have been placed inappropriately in a tower block.”

She cited the case of a man forced to abandon his wheelchair-bound father on an upper floor of Grenfell Tower during the blaze.

“These are the kinds of cases that have arisen because of this borough’s history of social and ethnic cleansing - putting privilege and wealth above its residents,” she said.

A council spokesman said it was "urgently investigating" the allegation about the out-of-date baby milk, saying it was the first they had heard about it.

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