London fire: Flats acquired for Grenfell Tower survivors

By BBC
Survivors of London's Grenfell Tower fire are to be rehomed in a luxury housing development in the heart of Kensington, the government has said. Sixty-eight one, two and three-bedroom flats have been acquired at the Kensington Row development, it added.

The apartments are "newly built social housing" in a complex where the price of private homes starts at £1.5m.

At least 79 people died and many more were left homeless after fire engulfed the North Kensington tower a week ago.

There was widespread criticism and anger from residents at the slow and chaotic official response to the devastating blaze.

'Rebuild lives'

The upmarket Kensington Row complex includes a 24-hour concierge service and a private cinema, the website of developer St Edward's says.

Each new home will be fully furnished, and the government says will be completed to a high-specification.
The flats are expected to be completed by the end of July.

It is unclear whether the new tenants from Grenfell will have access to the same facilities as those in the private properties, some of which cost as much as £8.5m.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said extra public money had been found so the flats could be fitted out more quickly, and more builders had been taken on.

It said the "expectation was that these new properties would be offered as one of the options to permanently rehouse residents from Grenfell Tower".

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said Grenfell residents had been through "some of the most harrowing and traumatic experiences imaginable".

"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," he added.