BBC News

Grenfell survivors project messages on 'unsafe' tower blocks

By Shamaan Freeman-Powell
BBC News

Related Topics
  • Grenfell Tower fire
image copyrightGrenfell United
image captionResidents say Frinstead House does not have sprinklers

Campaigners have projected messages on to high-rises across England saying they are unsafe, ahead of the two-year anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Survivors group Grenfell United put the messages on buildings in Salford, Newcastle and London.

One projection says: "2 years after Grenfell and this building is still covered in dangerous cladding."

The government said it had made £600m of funding available to replace combustible cladding on high-rises.

It expected the work - on both private and social housing homes - to be completed "as soon as possible", it said.

image copyrightGrenfell united
image captionThe message on this Salford block says it has dangerous cladding

In Newcastle, the projection on to Cruddas Park House, which is a 25 storey block for people over 50, says: "2 years after Grenfell and the fire doors in this building still don't work".

Newcastle City Council said it had invested over £9m in fire safety measures across the borough and that "the safety of customers is our number one priority".

The projection on to the NV building in Salford, which has 246 flats, says it is "still covered in dangerous cladding" which is not covered by the government's cladding removal fund.

The developer of the building told the BBC "an urgent investigation is ongoing".

And the projection in London appears on Frinstead House, a 20-storey block a stone's throw away from Grenfell Tower. It says the block has no sprinklers.

media captionThere are still buildings "all around the country" with flammable cladding, campaigner says.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council, which took over management of the high-rise in March last year, said its staff had met residents to talk about sprinklers and other fire safety measures.

It said there was a fire safety programme under way across its borough and it was "seeking clear guidance and recommendations from central government on fire safety systems".

Grenfell United said it is calling for tower blocks across the UK to be "made safe, and for residents to be listened to and treated with respect".

It says they want to see safe fire doors, sprinklers in blocks to keep fire escapes clear, and for all dangerous cladding to be removed.

image copyrightGrenfell United
image captionIn Newcastle, the projection on to Cruddas Park House says the fire doors don’t work

Natasha Elcock, chairman of Grenfell United and a survivor from the tower, said: "It's been two years since Grenfell and people are still going to bed at night worried that a fire like Grenfell could happen to them."

The campaigners are calling for the government to introduce a new separate housing regulator to put "residents concerns over profits of housing associations".

Karim Mussilhy, vice-chairman of Grenfell United, and who lost his uncle in the fire, said although their message is simple they "needed the biggest possible platform to make them [the government] listen".

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionOne woman says a prayer after attaching a tribute to a railing near the site of Grenfell Tower

Mr Mussilhy said residents were raising concerns, but being ignored.

"That's what happened to residents in Grenfell before the fire. We have to change the culture in social housing so people are treated with respect." he continued.

He has also urged the next prime minister to be "on the right side of history" and to prioritise dealing with the tragedy when they take office.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said in a statement: "The Government has banned combustible materials in the external walls of new high-rise homes and guidance requires that sprinklers must be installed in new buildings above 30 metres.

"Building owners are ultimately responsible for the safety of the building and it is for them to decide whether to retro-fit sprinklers."

Related Topics

More on this story

  • Grenfell Tower: Government to pay £200m for safer cladding