Grenfell fire survivors to be rehoused within luxury development

Survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire are to be re-homed in social housing built as part of a luxury development where house prices start at £1.5 million.

A total of 68 one, two and three bedroom flats at the Kensington Row development in west London have been acquired by the Government.

The properties are "newly built social housing" within a high-end development in which new homes being sold on the market will include a 24-hour concierge and a private cinema.

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.

In a deal brokered by the Homes and Community Agency (HCA), the City of London corporation purchased two blocks at the site.

Most new developments now include a requirement for some cheaper social housing to be offered at less than market rates, and it is these homes that have been acquired by the council.

Jeremy Corbyn meets Grenfell survivors. Credit: PA

HCA chairman Sir Edward Lister said the agency stood "ready to help all those affected by this terrible incident", adding that it was looking at properties in the local area to rehouse residents as quickly as possible.

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".

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.

Floral tributes near to Grenfell Tower. Credit: PA

It comes after much anger from survivors and victims' families at the official response to the deadly blaze.

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

St Edward is a joint venture between Prudential and the Berkeley Group around 1.5 miles from Grenfell Tower.

Tony Pidgley, the Berkeley Group chairman, said: "We've got to start by finding each of them a home.

"Somewhere safe and supportive, close to their friends and the places they know, so they can start to rebuild their lives.

"We will work night and day to get these homes ready."