Kensington and Chelsea Council set to buy nearby homes for Grenfell survivors

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Council chiefs will spend tens of millions of pounds on buying homes around Grenfell Tower to rehouse survivors of the tragedy, the Standard can reveal.

The properties being bought on the open market will be in North Kensington, Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill and Holland Park.

Councillors are being asked to approve urgent measures to speed the search for new homes. 

No Grenfell resident has yet been permanently rehoused, more than two months after the blaze that killed at least 80 people.

A meeting of Kensington and Chelsea council on Thursday will propose spending £20 million from reserves on properties costing between £500,000 and £1.5 million in W10 and W11 and giving them to Grenfell survivors to live in as conventional council houses. 

Hundreds march silently to mark two months since Grenfell Tower fire

Due to the high prices of homes in the area, the properties are likely to be one- and two-bedroom flats. A second strand involves spending £15-£16.5 million finding permanent homes for the 17 leaseholders whose homes in the tower or Grenfell Walk were destroyed or rendered uninhabitable.

A third strand involves spending £40 million to ensure that Grenfell tenants pay no more in rent for their lifetime than they would have done if still renting from the council.

The council is currently spending about £1,000 per week on temporary housing for each family. It expects to have to rehouse 189 households.

Kim Taylor-Smith, deputy council leader, said: “Finding people a permanent new home is our absolute priority. We know that for people to start the process of rebuilding their lives they need the security of a home for life. We have already been working with 23 families that have lost people in the fire to help find a new home. 

“We now want to help 153 further households who have lost everything in the fire. 

“The council has acquired more than 100 properties for Grenfell survivors and is in the course of spending tens of millions more to add to our property stock.

“People have spent too long in hotels and emergency accommodation, and we can now start getting them out of there into homes that they choose.”

The council hopes to complete the first purchase and move in tenants within six weeks. 

Campaigners welcomed the move but said it was “too little, too late”. Yvette Williams MBE, spokeswoman for the Justice4Grenfell group, said: “What they are doing is correct, but it should not have a financial cap on it. 

“The council should give the Grenfell residents a premium service and stop acting like they’re doing them a favour. 

“Children are going back to school in less than a month and they are still living in hotels. It’s too little too late.” 

Labour councillor Judith Blakeman said the move was “better late than never”.

She added: “Given the amount of chaos the council has been through since the disaster this has probably been its only chance to sort all this out. But we are also surprised that central Government is not making any contribution to the funding.”

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