Statement from Architects for Social Housing on the Grenfell fire

GRENFELL TOWER FIRE

It cannot be a coincidence that the same cladding and insulation used in the 2016 renovation of Grenfell Tower was also used on Lakanal House in Camberwell, which in 2009 similarly went up in flames. But whatever the causes of this fire, what we do know is that the Grenfell Action Group residents organisation has issued repeated warnings about the risk of fire in the tower since at least 2013, and that all these warnings have been ignored by the Kensington and Chelsea Tenants Management Organisation.

Like every London council, Kensington and Chelsea are implementing a programme of estate regeneration that involves the managed decline of the housing prior to its demolition and redevelopment – as is in fact happening on the neighbouring Silchester estate. The lack of accountability of the council-led TMO that led to this disaster is being replicated across London, where housing policy is to treat council estates as assets to be managed for profit, not as housing to be used as homes.

A tragedy is something that befalls someone as a consequence of their arrogance and greed. The Grenfell fire is not a tragedy but a man-made disaster that could and should have been avoided. The victims of this fire are entirely innocent of the disaster they foresaw. It remains to be seen whether those whose arrogance and greed caused it will be held to account.

Architects for Social Housing

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