Grenfell Tower families' anger at vote to decide the future of the site

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Survivors and bereaved loved-ones of the Grenfell Tower disaster have been dealt another slap in the face – being pitted against each other for a say in the long-term future of the inferno site.

A so called Memorial Commission is being set up by the Government to decide on “the most fitting and appropriate way” to remember the 72 victims.

It will be made up of a panel of 10 community members – including five bereaved relatives – sitting alongside public officials.

But the Government’s plans have been branded a “shambles” and Grenfell’s MP is calling for the commission to be overhauled.

They are furious that those who want to be involved have to be voted onto the commission – threatening to divide the community.

Shah Aghlani, who lost his 65-year-old disabled mother Sakina Afrasiabi and her 59-year-old sister Fatemah in the blaze of June 2017, said he was planning to pull out of the process.

Labour MP Emma Dent Coad says the Memorial Commission will ‘divide the community’

 

He said: “I think the government’s approach is such a shambles that quite a lot of bereaved families are withdrawing.

“Because they have put it down to some sort of voting system. I think this should have been done on merit as well as having representation of the communities.

“We don’t want someone who is a distant relative of the people who lost their lives to be given priority over someone who lost six members of his family. He shouldn’t be there on a voting system.”

It is understood about 10 out of 20 nominees from the local Grenfell community are planning to quit their bid to sit on the commission.

Emma Dent Coad, MP for Kensington and Chelsea, accused the government of being insensitive.

She said: “What they are doing by having this voting system is they are setting up competition.

“They have made it competitive, rather than saying let’s get everyone around and have a consensus. My personal feeling is they are doing that to divide the community.

“I don’t think the government has been sensitive about it. I think they are going to have to completely review it, otherwise some of the bereaved families are going to be absolutely distraught.”

Bereaved loved ones fear that distant relatives may have more of a say on the future of the site than them

Once set up, the commission will produce a report that will set out its views on how the north Kensington site should be used, the design of a memorial and how it will be owned and managed.

The elected members will include five people bereaved by the fire, three former residents of Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk who lost their homes, and two representatives from the wider Lancaster West estate.

It will also include representatives from bodies including the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government , the local NHS Trust and Kensington and Chelsea Council.

An Ministry spokesperson said: “We are committed to ensuring the community is at the heart of deciding a memorial to remember those who lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

“We have been consulting with the bereaved families, survivors and local community on the process for confirming their community representatives.”

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