'We haven't been consulted': Grenfell activist on plans to demolish tower

6 September 2021, 10:11 | Updated: 8 September 2021, 10:03

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The families of those who died in the Grenfell fire and survivors say they should be able to decide when the block is demolished - rather than the government.

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Ministers are reportedly set to announce the west London tower will be brought down because of safety concerns.

But the group Grenfell United says it should remain in place until the inquiry and police investigation have concluded.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) said a decision has yet to be taken.

Watch: Government 'erasing memory of Grenfell for convenience', Maajid Nawaz fears

Karim Mussilhy a bereaved family member from the survivors' group Grenfell United, says plans to demolish the Tower have not been discussed with families.

"We have not had the opportunity to have a conversation about where our families died," he told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast.

Hitting out at the plans for the tower to be torn down, Mr Mussilhy said it was not yet known if the shell of the tower would be needed in evidence in any prosecutions.

Watch: Grenfell activist - 'You're not touching the tower until we say so'

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Grenfell United, a group for survivors and bereaved families, said: "It is with shock that we read the Sunday Times article today, given the promise by the Government that no decision would be made on the future of the tower without full consultation with the bereaved and survivors.

"The Government has engaged with fewer than 10 of the bereaved and survivors on this matter, to date, and with such a wide range of viewpoints across all affected families, we struggle to understand why this would be pushed through so quickly.

Read more: More than a quarter of cladding safety certificates 'invalid'

"Given what we went through, safety has always been paramount and we have had previous assurances that the tower can be kept safe for as long as it needs to be, and that it poses no risk to the community around it.

"Given the limited legislation passed since the Grenfell fire to keep people safe in their homes, the glacial process of removing flammable cladding and the daily reports of the links between the Government and the construction industry, it seems to us that removing Grenfell from the skyline while the inquiry and police investigation still continues to only serve those accused or those that haven't acted."

The group is asking how the tower can be demolished before the legal process concludes, adding: "Justice is important to us all and anything that may prevent justice must not be an option.

"Many of the Grenfell community accept the removal of the tower will always be a case of when not if, but the timeline needs to be decided by the bereaved, survivors and community, not the Government - who have done nothing to make the changes needed to prevent it happening again."

A MHCLG spokesperson said: “We know how important and sensitive this decision is and no decision has been taken.

“Following important independent safety advice from structural engineers, we are engaging closely with the community as we consider the evidence including the safety concerns raised, and what the future of the Grenfell Tower should be.

“We have now published this advice to ensure those most affected have access to the information that will inform a decision on the Tower, before one is reached.”