The demolition of Grenfell Tower is expected to take place “towards the end of 2018”, the site manager has said.
Michael Lockwood was giving information on the future of the building and the timescale for the estimated recovery operation and criminal investigation at a public meeting on Wednesday (July 26).
While speaking at Notting Hill Methodist Church, he also revealed covering of the building would begin in August, with getwestlondon reporting last week that the building is expected to be completely under wraps in November .
Mr Lockwood was speaking a day before the Archbishop of York visits north Kensington to attend a memorial for five residents of the tower.
The service on Thursday (July 27) at St Helen’s Church will be attended by Dr John Sentamu and commemorate the lives of 24-year-old artist Khadija Saye, her mother Mary Mendy, 54, Berkti Haftom, 29, her 12-year-old son Beruk and five-year-old Isaac Paulos.
Mr Lockwood said work coating the scorched remains of Grenfell Tower in a protective wrap to help forensic investigations and ease the eventual deconstruction of the building would begin in mid-August.
He estimated that the recovery operation could last until mid-November, while the criminal investigation involving material being collected from the building could go on until January.
Speaking at the church in Lancaster Road, he said: “I think that to be honest, the building will stay up throughout 2018.
“Then towards the end of 2018, I think we could start to bring it down, if that is what the community wants, and the scaffolding will help us to do that because we can do that within the wrap.”
Any decision on what happens to the site after the eventual deconstruction would be made with input from the community, Mr Lockwood said.
He said that despite the ferocity of the fire, which saw parts of the building burn at over 1,000 degrees , some flats were left “completely untouched”, with around 33 flats from which personal possessions might now be retrieved.
This may being “in the next week or so... in consultation with those residents, and at the speed that they want”.
Meanwhile, communities secretary Sajid Javid wrote a letter read out at the public meeting in which he said the taskforce assembled in the wake of the disaster will be in place for “however long is necessary”.
He wrote: “I envisage them to be in place for however long is necessary to get the job done - in reality, this is likely to mean for at least one year.”
The outside experts were assembled following outrage over the response to the disaster and took over responsibility for Kensington and Chelsea Council’s housing, regeneration, community engagement and governance services.
The church service for five of the Grenfell victims will also be attended by Bishop of Kensington Graham Tomlin, and the Rev Femi Cole-Njie, representing the Gambian ambassador to the UK.
The devastating fire ripped through the 24-storey building in west London on June 14, killing at least 80 people.
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