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Grenfell Tower Six Years On – What’s Going to Happen to the Tower?

Grenfell Tower 6 years on

Six years ago, the country was sent into shock when Grenfell Tower in West London was set ablaze due to a faulty refrigerator on the fourth floor of the 23-story tower of flats. The fire rapidly spread across all four sides of the tower due to the polyethylene material that was in the building’s cladding.

In total, 72 people were tragically killed in the fire with the youngest victim just six months old. Baby Leena Belkadi died in her mother’s arms as she tried to escape from the building from one of the higher floors.

In light of the tragedy, promises were made in relation to the cladding used on the tower. However, six years on frustration and anger is still rife among those within the community around the tower.

In an interview the PA new agency, Edward Daffarn, who lived on the 16th floor of Grenfell Tower, said:

“Not only can I speak for myself individually, but I think I can speak on behalf of Grenfell United, of which I’m a committee member.

“In the days after the fire as I was standing underneath the wreck of Grenfell I was pretty convinced that Grenfell would become the catalyst for societal change, that things would not be the same as they were before Grenfell, as a result of Grenfell.

“To date, there hasn’t been a single arrest. Not a single clink of handcuffs for any of the perpetrators of the fire. And I know it’s a cliche but, you know, justice delayed is justice denied. And we can’t go on for much longer without people being held to account. And it feels very abusive, it feels very unsatisfactory.”

The future of Grenfell is still up in the air

While no one is yet to face justice for the tragedy, the future of the tower still remains unresolved too. Last year, the Grenfell Tower Memorial Commission published a report which stated that the government needed to make a decision on whether to take the tower down or not.

If the tower is to be taken down then the government has promised to back some kind of memorial to go in its place, whether that be in the form of a garden or monument. There have also been assurances that materials from the building will be used to make up this potential memorial.

While Daffarn appreciates this sentiment, he believes that all survivors of the tragedy should be consulted before anything is set in stone. He said:

“We have to respect that the bereaved families are moving at different paces around their ability to make decisions about the future of the tower, so we need to be patient.

“When those decisions are made, we’re going to need an enormous amount of pragmatism, an enormous amount of compassion and understanding among ourselves as a community because no individual is going to get exactly what they want on that site.”

As things currently stand, the tower still stands in North Kensington but is covered in a protective wrap – the same state it has now been in for six years. On the outside of the wrap, there is a green heart with the message “forever in our hearts.”

Further conversations needed

With disappointment and anger increasing, the government have issued the following statement in relation to their plans for the building. It read:

“A decision on the future of Grenfell Tower will not be made without further conversations with bereaved families, survivors and local residents.

“The government is committed to supporting the independent Grenfell Tower Memorial Commission in the creation of a fitting and lasting memorial, determined by the community, to honour those who lost their lives in the tragedy.”

While the government pushes for further conversations, the Memorial Commission is busy gathering views and opinions from survivors and the families of those who perished in the fire. A final report from the commission is expected in Autumn.

Final thought

The Grenfell Tower tragedy has left a permanent scar on the hearts of the victims’ families and the community. Six years have passed, and yet, no one has been held accountable for the fire that claimed 72 lives.

The future of the tower remains uncertain, and the government’s promise of a memorial is yet to be fulfilled. The bereaved families and survivors are still waiting for justice and closure, and it is essential that their voices are heard and respected in any decision regarding the tower’s future.

The community needs patience, compassion, and understanding, and it is crucial that the government and the Memorial Commission work together to create a fitting memorial that honours the lives lost and provides a sense of closure for the affected families.

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