Residents living just metres from Grenfell Tower are worried that the Notting Hill Carnival will attract troublemakers to their homes and are urging Transport for London to shut nearby Latimer Road Station on Sunday and Monday.
Samia Badani, chair of Bramley House Residents’ Association, said that she wants the carnival to go ahead, but is worried that people will congregate near to the property on Bramley Road in order to gawk at Grenfell Tower, which sits about 100 metres away.
She said residents of Bramley House and neighbouring estates need to feel safe and are worried the area will become an attraction for people visiting for the first time since the blaze, which killed at least 80 people.
“There’s loads of information going around on social media that troublemakers are going to come to Latimer Road,” Badani told HuffPost UK.
“This is our area, we need to feel safe. I don’t think I’m going to be here around the carnival.”
Badani, who has lived at Bramley House for 17 years, said she has always felt safe during the carnival before, but that this year she fears trouble will erupt near her home when people see Grenfell Tower.
“People come to Bramley House to see the (Grenfell) tower. That’s the closest you’re going to be because Lancaster West Estate is a no go area. People can congregate around Bramley House.
“They should shut down the station because I think it will stop people coming en masse here, to Bramley Road.”
Extra security will be placed at Grenfell Tower during the carnival to protect the site and the integrity of the investigation, the Metropolitan Police has said.
Badani’s fears echo those of Clarrie Mendy, who lost two relatives in the fire.
Speaking at a Grenfell Response Team meeting earlier this month, Mendy said she was worried what might be “unleashed” when people see the tower for the first time and warned there may be problems if the situation isn’t handled carefully.
Mark Wild, managing director for London Underground, said in a statement to HuffPost UK: “We have worked closely with the local community and the Notting Hill Carnival organisers ahead of this year’s event to make sure we are as sensitive as possible to residents’ concerns following the terrible tragedy at Grenfell.
“Having listened to local people and those affected, announcements will be made at stations and on trains asking customers not to take pictures of the tower out of respect for the victims and their friends and families.
“Our stations will also announce the one minute silence taking place on Sunday and Monday at 3pm.
“Our thoughts remain with all those affected by the terrible events.”
Earlier this week, Kensington and Chelsea Council agreed to cordon off the area outside Bramley House where tributes have been left for Grenfell victims.
Originally, residents were concerned that the tributes were going to be moved, with residents saying that the flowers and cards attached to the railings was their way of grieving for their friends and neighbours who lived in the 24-storey block.
When asked about the revised plans, a council spokesman said to HuffPost UK: “Nothing is going to be moved, the tribute area will be cordoned off and wardens will be on hand to ensure that the tributes are not interfered with during Carnival.”
Business owners in Notting Hill have been told to prepare for an increase in troublemakers who want to use the Grenfell Tower disaster as a reason to wreak havoc at this year’s event, the Times reported.
The Met Police faced a backlash yesterday after it linked a drugs crackdown in south London with this weekend’s carnival.
Many, including grime artist Stormzy, questioned why police were linking the raids to the iconic annual festival.