Tory councillor who managed Grenfell Tower refurbishment 'flees luxury £1.2m home after threats'

Rock Feilding-Mellen was said to be concerned for his safety after abusive posters and vandalism were seen outside his three-storey townhouse in north Kensington

Greg Wilford@Greg_Wilford
Sunday 25 June 2017 12:44
Rock Feilding-Mellen
Rock Feilding-Mellen

The Conservative councillor who managed the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower has been forced to relocate his family after allegedly receiving threats from angry residents outside his luxury £1.2million home.

Rock Feilding-Mellen, who is deputy leader of Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council (KCBC), was said to be concerned for his safety after abusive posters and vandalism were seen outside his three-storey townhouse in north Kensington on Saturday.

Last year the 38-year-old reportedly oversaw the £10m refurbishment of Grenfell Tower, which saw cladding with a flammable core fitted to the outside of the building.

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The Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation are understood to have reported directly to Mr Feilding-Mellen during the building work because he is cabinet member for housing, though there is no suggestion he was aware of fire safety failings.

After his appointment to the role in 2013, Mr Feilding-Mellen said he wanted to ensure that "tenants can live in safe, attractive, and well-built homes that are fully integrated with the rest of the borough thereby preserving our diverse but mixed communities".

A council spokesperson told The Mirror: “Following threats and vandalism outside his house, which has been reported to the police, he had to relocate his family – at his own expense – during the course of last weekend."

Police confirmed they are investigating reports of criminal damage outside Mr Feilding-Mellen's address, which is near the scene of the deadly fire that killed at least 79 people.

A spokesman told The Mirror: “Police were alerted on Saturday, 17 June, to reports of posters with allegedly abusive content displayed outside a residential address in the borough of Kensington.

“Officers who subsequently attended the scene did not find any evidence of posters at the scene, or any evidence of criminal damage at the property.

“Officers were subsequently sent photographs of the alleged posters. The individual property owner concerned was given advice by police. Enquiries continue.”

Mr Feilding-Mellen is the son of the Earl and Countess of Wemyss and March, James Charteris and Amanda Feilding, who have a 5,000-acre stately home in Gloucestershire.

The council said he has remained on duty and worked throughout the fallout of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

KCBC Chief Executive Nicholas Holgate was forced to quit his £180,000 role following the blaze amid criticism of a "shambolic" response by the council.

Grenfell Tower residents complained two years ago about the refurbishment of the building being done “using cheap materials” and workmanship that “cut corners”.

They later claimed that the Conservative-led council, which owns the building, had done nothing to address their concerns.

A number of survivors of the blaze have claimed the exterior cladding was linked to the way the fire spread so rapidly up the outside of the tower, with one describing the flames “coming up really fast, because of the cladding, [which] just caught up like a matchstick.”

Minutes from an emergency residents’ meeting held on 17 March 2015 show that more than 100 people living in the block produced a long list of issues about the refurbishment.

The minutes detail anxieties about the way the firm Rydon was doing the work and the role of the tower’s administrators Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (TMO) and mention the “concern that TMO/Rydon are using cheap materials” and “cutting corners” on workmanship.

Other problems included “grave concerns at standard of works inside a number of residents’ properties”.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has claimed that the cladding used in the refurbishment - said to be the cheaper, more flammable of two options available to the supplier - is already banned on high rise buildings in the UK.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has called for a change in leadership at the council and demanded that victims are given a say in the independent public inquiry into the disaster.

He said: "I will continue to fight for residents to get the support they need as well as ensuring changes are made so a similar tragedy never happens again."

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