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Grenfell Tower Residents To Be Rehoused In Luxury Kensington Row Flats

The housing is expected to be ready at the end of July.

21/06/2017 15:50 | Updated 21 June 2017

Survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire will be relocated into a luxury apartment complex in Kensington, where prices start at £1,575,000.

Residents currently living in temporary accommodation following last Wednesday’s devastating blaze will be rehoused in 68 new flats just off Kensington High Street. 

The flats are all newly built social housing and form part of the Kensington Row development in Kensington and Chelsea - about 2 miles from Grenfell Tower.

The first accommodation to be acquired by the government follows assurances made by the local authority that residents affected by the inferno would be rehoused in the borough.

NIKLAS HALLE'N via Getty Images
Survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire will be rehoused in 68 luxury flats in Kensington

Sajid Javid, communities secretary, said: “The residents of Grenfell Tower have been through some of the most harrowing and traumatic experiences imaginable and it is our duty to support them.

“Our priority is to get everyone who has lost their home permanently rehoused locally as soon as possible, so that they can begin to rebuild their lives.

“The government will continue to do everything we can as fast as we can to support those affected by this terrible tragedy.”

The fire that engulfed the 24-storey building in the early hours of Wednesday morning left at least 79 people dead.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, the inequality in the borough was brought to light, with residents telling HuffPost UK that they felt “forgotten” and gated off from the wealthier parts of the borough.

The new permanent housing is expected to be completed by the end of July.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said suitable accommodation will be found in the local area for victims who lost their homes within a maximum of 3 weeks. 

The homes have been purchased by the City of London Corporation and will become part of its social housing stock. The amount the purchase cost has not been disclosed.

PA Wire/PA Images
A woman lights a candle outside Notting Hill Methodist Church, near to Grenfell Tower in west London after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building on Wednesday morning.

The homes will be a mixture of one, two and three bedroom flats across two blocks. 

The complex includes a 24-hour concierge service and a private cinema, according to the developer’s website.

It is not yet clear whether Grenfell survivors will have access to the same facilities as those in private properties, some of which cost up to £8.5 million.

An estimated 500 to 600 people lived in Grenfell Tower’s 120 flats. 

The government said that so far more than 110 housing needs assessments have been completed.

Flats will be fully furnished and paid for by the government, costing an estimated £2 million to £3 million.

The homes are part of a development by St Edward, a joint venture between Prudential and the Berkeley Group and are nearing completion.

The government said that extra construction staff have been hired and are working around the clock to fast-track completion of the development.

Tony Pidgley, chairman of the Berkeley Group, said: “We’ve got to start by finding each of them a home.

“Somewhere safe and supportive, close to their friends and the places they know, so they can start to rebuild their lives. We will work night and day to get these homes ready.”

Alex Jeffrey, chief executive, M&G Real Estate, which manages the property interests of Prudential, added: “We are shocked and deeply saddened by the Grenfell Tower fire and are obviously relieved that we can help in some small way by providing homes of high quality within the borough to some of the families who have been affected.”

PA Wire/PA Images
The fire raged for hours.

It has also emerged that local authorities are reaching out to estate agents to try and find places for the survivors to live.

Daniels Estate Agents was approached by Brent Council, which borders Kensington and Chelsea, saying it need two, three and four bedroom properties.

Operations director Brendan Ryan told HuffPost UK they had submitted about 60 empty properties offered up by its clients after Daniels appealed by email to its tens of thousands of clients.

Daniels were told full market rent would be guaranteed by central government and the tenants would be placed on shorthold tenancies.

“We submitted those to our local authority who have in turn submitted them to a central location in Westminster, is all I know, who are not sifting through the list,” he said.

“They didn’t reveal any criteria to us but it’s becoming clear they want [homes] as close to the tower as possible.”

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