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Some people aren’t happy about Grenfell Tower survivors moving to ‘luxury’ flats

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Tom Victor
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More than a week has passed since dozens of residents of Grenfell Tower lost their lives when fire ripped through the multi-storey building.

The official number of casualties currently stands at 79, though locals believe the true number is much higher, and many survivors have found themselves sleeping in hotels, B&Bs or even sports halls or places of worship in the days since the tragedy,

There had been concerns that authorities would rehouse residents not just out of the borough of Kensington & Chelsea, but out of London altogether. However, there has since been some positive news, with the Corporation of London purchasing a number of apartments in the Kensington Row development in the south of the borough – homes which look set to be made available to social tenants.

Some ‘luxury’ apartments in Kensington Row are sold privately for seven-figure sums or rented out for hundreds of pounds a week, even if the new social tenants are unlikely to enjoy all of the same amenities. It is unclear whether they will have access to the building’s pool and spa, but those in similar positions in other comparable buildings have not had the same level of access as private tenants or property owners.

Still, after suffering such a tragic and traumatic experience, coupled with what many consider a poor response from those in power, one might think this move would be universally popular. Not so.

The Guardian carries quotes from current residents complaining that the move to house social tenants in the building is “unfair” or having the potential to “[open] up a can of worms”.

"People have been sleeping in cars and in parks because they don't know where to go and they aren't being looked after," Emma Dent Coad, the newly-elected MP for Kensington, told Sky News.

"Secondly they need to be re-housed permanently and thirdly they need a long-term care package... people who'll always be there for them."

Families affected by the Grenfell Tower fire have been told they will each receive emergency payments of £5,500 from the government, though many have lost everything in the fire, not to mention the loss of friends and family killed in the disaster.

In total, 68 one, two and three-bed flats have been purchased in Kensington Row. At the time of writing, it is unclear how many families and/or individual tenants are still waiting for new permanent accommodation.

(Images:Berkeley Group (feature image)/Rex Features)