Below is a copy of the Letter to Prime Minister and Home Secretary on the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry from local residents.
We are the residents of the Walkways surrounding Grenfell Tower on the Lancaster West Estate, comprising of Hurstway, Testerton, and Barandon Walks; who are all forced to live in the shadow of the Grenfell disaster.
We support the survivors and mourn the dead – they are our families, friends and neighbours, many of whom are still missing.
We want to ensure that justice is served for everyone on the estate. We therefore demand that our voices are heard and fully included in the public enquiry.
We welcome the proposed full public inquiry and the promised consultation with residents and families of the deceased on the terms of reference on which the inquiry will proceed.
We also welcome the government’s acknowledgement that the voices of residents and victims’ families must be heard by the inquiry and the promise of funding for legal representation to that end.
And so as the residents of Hurstway, Testerton, Barandon and Grenfell Walks, we demand that:
- the scope of the core participants who should be consulted and funded for legal representation should include, not only the bereaved families and survivors, but also civil society representatives and organisations who have a track record of working with the residents;
- this consultation needs to take place as soon as possible, with arrangements in place to ensure that it can be accessed effectively by all potential core
- to that end, the funding for legal representation of the bereaved families and
survivors should be made available with immediate effect on a non-means tested basis in view of the distress that would otherwise be suffered by residents having to establish entitlement to public funding in the absence of official documentation and when they have lost their homes and possessions;
- moreover the scope of the consultation should cover, not only the terms of
reference, but also:
- the identity of the proposed Chair and Counsel to the inquiry, including the requisite skills and experience; and
- the composition of the panel of advisors appointed to assist the inquiry, including the requisite subject matter expertise, skills and experience.
This inquiry must enable a comprehensive investigation into:
- the historical background leading up to the events prior to the fire both here and in relation to other tower block fires and any recommendations which had
- the fire, its cause/spread, and the immediate emergency response to it;
- the aftermath of the fire, including the ongoing endeavours of the bereaved
families and survivors to obtain the support and assistance they require, and the admitted failures in this regard on the part of the state, local and national.
The investigation must leave no stone unturned: it must identify each and every individual and organisation who must bear responsibility and accountability for this tragedy and the mishandling of the aftermath.
There must be swift recommendations to ensure there can be no chance of a repeat of this disaster elsewhere.
Bereaved families and survivors will require time to recover and grieve, not least in view of the paucity of support they have been afforded by the state and its agencies in the immediate aftermath. To that end, the timetable for the proposed consultation must be established and announced at the earliest opportunity, so that their effective participation
can become a reality.