Residents want council to cut ties with firm managing Grenfell Tower over response to fire

Community leaders are appealing to the head of the council at the heart of the Grenfell Tower fire in London to cut ties with the organisation responsible for managing the high-rise block.

Kensington and Chelsea residents associations are planning to send a letter to council leader Elizabeth Campbell urging her to sever its contract with the Tenant Management Organisation (TMO), which has faced criticism over its response to residents' complaints.

In a vote of no confidence, they said the TMO was "no longer tenable" and there was an urgent need to replace it with a "more responsive model that puts residents' safety and interests first".

Chairwoman of Bramley House residents association in England, Samia Badani, said: "The TMO's response prior, during and after the Grenfell fire is wholly inappropriate.

"Residents continue to be ignored and repairs are not being carried out."

She added: "There should be an immediate risk assessment."

The open letter is also addressed to deputy leader of Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBK&C) council, Kim Taylor-Smith, responsible for Grenfell recovery.

It follows a meeting of 25 community leaders on July 28.

The letter reads: "We agree that there has been a fundamental breach of the duty of care by the KCTMO that cannot be remedied.

"The police have reasonable grounds to suspect that KCTMO committed an offence. This should be sufficient for RBK&C to take immediate action to end its contract with KCTMO.

"It is clear to us that KCTMO is not fit for purpose. We have no confidence in their ability to manage council housing on behalf of RBK&C or in their ability to make the correct decisions about our safety."

People attend a silent march to pay respect to those killed in the Grenfell Tower disaster, outside Notting Hill Methodist Church in London.

The council's leadership should also ensure everyone affected by the TMO be not only consulted but "fully participate from the outset" in the process of deciding future management of their homes, the letter says.

It ends: "We submit that such actions will help rebuild our community, make it stronger and more sustainable and above all, a step forward to restoring public confidence in our Local Authority and move towards the healing process of all those affected."

A council spokesman said: "We fully realise that the Council has lost public trust. But we are determined to act properly, thoroughly and fairly to restore public trust over time.

"We are looking at all options for managing our own housing into the future. This will obviously include options for alternative management other than the KCTMO.

"We will, of course, consult with residents, the TMO and other potential housing partners on all options."

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