Kensington and Chelsea’s new chief admits she has never visited a high-rise tower block before the Grenfell disaster

Elizabeth Campbell made the admission as she said the council had to regain public trust through actions not words

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Wednesday 12 July 2017 14:25
Kensington and Chelsea's new chief admits she had never visited a high-rise council housing block

Kensington and Chelsea’s new council chief has admitted she has never been inside a high-rise council block in her own borough before the Grenfell fire disaster.

Elizabeth Campbell, who has previously apologised for the council’s handling of the disaster in the immediate aftermath, made the admission on the Radio 4's Today programme as she said the council had to regain public trust through actions not words.

But when asked whether she had ever been inside the Grenfell tower before the disaster, she said: “I’m going tomorrow”.

Pressed again on whether she had been in any of the council tower blocks in the borough before the disaster, she added: “I haven’t been into the high-rise council blocks before but I am certainly doing that now.

“As I said, most of my experience over the last 11 years in the council has been with families and children services, with people on the ground. The families who I seen may not have been living in high-rise but they have all been in north Kensington,” she added.

Ms Campbell, who officially takes up her new role as council leader next week following the resignation of her predecessor over his handling of the disaster, also told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the authority would use its significant financial reserves to build more council housing in Kensington and Chelsea.

Ms Campbell said: “I make this guarantee that we are going to be the first council in London who are going to build more council homes.”

Pressed on how much of the council's reserves of £274m would be used for new housing, Ms Campbell said: “We will definitely put stuff towards it because we have saved for emergency situations.

“I actually make the commitment that we are going to build more council houses.”

It comes as the officer leading the Grenfell tower fire investigation said police are determined to return those who died to their families, in a statement released four weeks after the tragedy.

Commander Stuart Cundy said the human cost of that blaze “is something we are still trying to fully comprehend”.

“Each and every one of us involved from the Met is determined to do all we can to return those who died to their families as soon as we can.

“Today, we remember all those who have been so deeply affected,” he added.

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