Industry News

Controversy over plans to demolish Grenfell Tower

Government plans to demolish Grenfell Tower have been rejected by former tenants and the relatives of residents who lost their lives in the fire, who are putting forward their own plans to turn the building into a “vertical forest”. A group representing people who lost

family members are suggesting that nature be allowed to take over the high-rise block in west London, with 72 species of plants covering the structure - one for every person who died in the fire.

In mid May the Government published a letter revealing it was considering if and when Grenfell Tower should be

“carefully” taken down. This sparked strong opposition, with some relatives saying they would use legal action to thwart any attempt to demolish the building.

The Government said it had received

important advice from structural engineers about the condition of the tower, but it did not share this with the local community. A favoured alternative option among some

relatives is a living tower, based on the vision of Italian architect Stefano Boeri, who has designed numerous “vertical forests” on buildings across Europe. The idea for Grenfell to follow suit

originated from a former resident of the tower who lost a child in the blaze. A spokesperson for the Grenfell Next of Kin group said: “It is a progressive option when compared with knocking the building down and releasing all the pollution and debris and asbestos as well as the huge trauma it will cause everyone.” It was also revealed in May that at least four

households who lived in Grenfell Tower at the time of the fire, are still living in temporary accommodation almost four years on from the fire, as Kensington & Chelsea Council has yet to find them suitable permanent housing which is acceptable to the families concerned.

Over 400 homeless households helped into private rented housing in Nottingham

Nottingham City Council. The council’s Nottingham Private Rented


Assistance Scheme (NPRAS) has worked with individuals and families to find them homes to rent, by providing support and incentives to landlords and homeless people in the city. This includes the following:

• Helping people to search for accommodation and negotiating with letting agencies and landlords on their behalf;

• Helping with deposits and rent in advance, carrying out accompanied viewings and applicant checks and referencing;

• Helping with inventory and inspections and checking that every home is legally compliant and safe;

• Offering tenancy training, which prepares people for a new tenancy and includes rights and responsibilities, such as paying rent, how to carry out basic repairs such as unblocking a sink and bleeding radiators, and advice about benefits and how to claim; and

• Supporting landlords in the scheme with a free service that addresses any issues in a tenancy. This includes work to prevent evictions and families being made homeless again, by helping with mediation, rent arrears, disrepair issues, anti-social behaviour and support with Universal Credit.

6 | HMM June/July 2021 |

ver the last year, 409 homeless households have been given somewhere to live thanks to a support service provided by

The team recently helped a mum and three children who found themselves homeless when they had to flee their home from domestic abuse. They were living in a family member’s spare room but could not stay there long-term. The team helped the family to search for privately rented housing, which was safely away from threats of violence and they negotiated with landlords on their behalf. One of the landlords working with NRPAS long-

term had an empty house and was able to offer this family a tenancy. The team helped the landlord by carrying out all the paperwork, including right-to- rent checks, helping to pay towards the rent in advance and issuing a written bond in lieu of a cash deposit, making sure that benefit claims were up and running so that rent would be paid. Councillor Linda Woodings, Portfolio Holder for

Planning, Housing and Heritage, said: “There are many reasons why people may become homeless. Increasingly we’re finding working families

are having to live temporarily in hostels and hotels because they’ve been unable to find a privately rented home due to repeatedly failing credit checks. Our team works to make sure that people and families can move into safe and affordable homes and we support landlords to have a smooth tenancy.” The team is looking for more landlords to

house homeless individuals and families, if a landlord would like to get involved in the scheme then they need to contact the NPRAS team. More information and how to contact NPRAS is here:

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