Flats acquired in new upmarket development for Grenfell Tower blaze survivors

General view of flats in the Kensington Row development, in Kensington, west London, where some residents affected by the Grenfell Tower disaster are to be re-housed.
General view of flats in the Kensington Row development, in Kensington, west London, where some residents affected by the Grenfell Tower disaster are to be re-housed.

Grenfell Tower fire survivors are to be rehomed in a housing development where prices start at more than £1.5 million, the Government has announced.

Some 68 one-, two- and three-bedroom "social housing" flats have been bought at the Kensington Row development in upmarket High Street Kensington, a week on from the disaster which left at least 79 dead.

General view of flats under construction in the Kensington Row development, in Kensington, west London, where some residents affected by the Grenfell Tower disaster are to be re-housed.

General view of flats under construction in the Kensington Row development, in Kensington, west London, where some residents affected by the Grenfell Tower disaster are to be re-housed.

The newly built homes in two blocks are on a site where private homes are on offer from £1,575,000 to £8.5 million and boast a 24-hour concierge and a private cinema, according to the website of developer St Edward.

They are around 1.5 miles from the tower in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea and were purchased by the City of London Corporation in a deal brokered by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said the "expectation is that these new properties will be offered as one of the options to permanently rehouse residents from Grenfell Tower".

Mr Javid said: "The residents of Grenfell Tower have been through some of the most harrowing and traumatic experiences imaginable and it is our duty to support them.

General view of flats under construction in the Kensington Row development, in Kensington, west London, where some residents affected by the Grenfell Tower disaster are to be re-housed.

General view of flats under construction in the Kensington Row development, in Kensington, west London, where some residents affected by the Grenfell Tower disaster are to be re-housed.

"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."

Extra public money has been found to fit out the flats more quickly, and the developer has taken on more staff and relaxed working hours rules, DCLG said, with the aim of having the homes ready by the end of July.

The homes will be in two affordable housing blocks at the site, and were purchased by the City of London Corporation in a deal brokered by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

The announcement came after much anger from survivors and victims' families in the aftermath at the official response to the deadly blaze.

Grenfell Tower

Grenfell Tower

Last week, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for empty homes near the scene of the fire in north Kensington to be requisitioned to house families.

An independent public advocate to help bereaved families after major disasters was announced in the Queen's Speech earlier on Wednesday.

The speech confirmed plans for a public inquiry into the tragedy and a new strategy for resilience in major disasters could include a Civil Disaster Reaction Taskforce to help at times of emergency, and an independent advocate will support those affected and help them at inquests.

After the speech Theresa May apologised for the failures by local and national government in responding to the Grenfell Tower fire.

Addressing the Commons on Wednesday, the Prime Minister said the initial support on the ground for families was "not good enough" with people lacking basic information about what they should do and where help was available.

Wednesday also saw the funeral of fire victim Mohammad Alhajali take place, attended by his family and the mayor of London.

The 23-year-old Syrian refugee was the first fatality of the disaster to be formally identified by police.

In a statement read by a friend after the service, his family said he "loved London and loved the people he met here", and had begun pursuing his dream of studying engineering.

"He was a loving and caring person, always showing support and solidarity for friends and family stuck back in Syria," the statement read outside the mosque said.

"His very last words to us were how much he missed us.

"Ever since he moved away from us, we tried to be united with him and his brothers, and now, instead, we have been united by his body."