UK

Sadiq Khan Says High-Rise Tower Blocks From 1960s And 1970s Could Be Torn Down In Wake Of Grenfell Fire

'In the postwar rush to reconstruct our country, towers went up in large numbers, most of which are still here today.'

18/06/2017 09:48 BST | Updated 18/06/2017 09:50 BST

High-rise tower blocks which were built in the 1960s and 1970s could be “systematically torn down” in the wake of the deadly Grenfell Tower fire, Sadiq Khan has said. 

Writing in the Observer, the Mayor of London said: “The greatest legacy of this tragedy may well end up being the skyline of our towns and cities.”

Police said on Saturday that at least 58 people are missing and presumed dead following the disaster which struck the 24-storey building on the Lancaster West Estate in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

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Sadiq Kahn says that high-rise tower blocks which were built in the 1960s and 1970s could be 'systematically torn down' following Grenfell Tower fire.

Months before the fire struck, residents raised fire safety concerns with Kensington and Chelsea borough council and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation.

Now, questions are being raised regarding the structure and safety of the capital’s high-rise towers.

“In the postwar rush to reconstruct our country, towers went up in large numbers, most of which are still here today,” Khan wrote.

“Nowadays, we would not dream of building towers to the standards of the 1970s, but their inhabitants still have to live with that legacy.

“It may well be the defining outcome of this tragedy that the worst mistakes of the 1960s and 1970s are systematically torn down. Of course, this must mean people being rehoused in the same areas where they have put down roots.”

Khan said the fire was a “national tragedy with national consequences”, adding: “Those who mock health and safety, regulations and red tape need to take a hard look at the consequences of cutting these and ask themselves whether Grenfell Tower is a price worth paying.” 

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Smoke billows from a fire that has engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London.

Grenfell Tower is the only high-rise building in the Lancaster West Estate, which comprises of 900 other apartments, split into smaller low-rise blocks.

The fire laid bare the inequality in the Kensington borough, with the area immediately around the building revealed to be among the most deprived in the whole of England in 2015.

Residents on the estate told HuffPost UK they were feeling even more “forgotten” by the very authorities meant to help them in the wake of the tragedy.

Addressing criticism of the response to the disaster, Prime Minister Theresa May admitted support for families “who needed help or basic information in the initial hours” after the event “was not good enough”.