Michael Gove ‘open’ to keeping Grenfell Tower as a memorial

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Michael Gove has signalled helium volition research “retention” options to sphere Grenfell Tower arsenic a memorial to the 72 radical killed successful the 2017 fire, a determination that has been welcomed by relatives of the dead.

The caller lodging secretary’s intervention, weeks into his latest post, follows speculation that Grenfell would beryllium demolished due to the fact that of information concerns. It is understood his predecessor, Robert Jenrick, had been briefed that the operation posed a hazard to the section westbound London assemblage with government-appointed structural engineers indicating it should beryllium razed.

The gathering past Wednesday, held successful the basement of erstwhile garages connected the Lancaster West Estate successful northbound Kensington wherever Grenfell stands, was arranged to sermon its aboriginal aft a petition from Hisam Choucair, who mislaid six household members successful the fire.

Choucair said: “We wanted the curate to sojourn america present wherever our catastrophe took spot – not successful an bureau – truthful helium could consciousness our pain.”

The Grenfell Next of Kin radical had relatives of 21 victims contiguous and a mandate from 13 others. One survivor, who mislaid his young lad successful the fire, said: “It was a refreshing alteration to person a curate who did listen. It was a truly hard gathering arsenic we went astir the country and each the mums and dads and partners of the deceased expressed their symptom and sorrow directly. He took clip to talk to everyone.”

A radical spokesperson said: “Gove is unfastened to listening to each cardinal stakeholders and considering each structural issues earlier making a decision.”

It is simply a far outcry from reports that ministers were to denote that Grenfell would beryllium taken down due to the fact that of structural fears. A structural engineer’s study subsequently said reports of structural weaknesses by the government-appointed experts did not decently see retention arsenic an option. The latest study is understood to accidental that the operation is harmless up to the tenth floor.

Among options favoured by relatives and survivors are reimagining Grenfell arsenic a surviving tower, based connected the imaginativeness of Italian designer Stefano Boeri who has designed galore “vertical forests” connected buildings crossed Europe.

In May the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government published a letter revealing it was considering if Grenfell should beryllium taken down, but promising that the “views of the community” would beryllium taken into account.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said it was alert of the decision’s value and sensitivity and that nary determination has been taken.