Ministers are expected to announce this month that the Grenfell Tower will be demolished for security reasons, more than four years after the blaze that killed 72 people.
Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, was told the building posed a risk to the local community, including Kensington Aldridge Academy in west London, a secondary school located near the charred remains.
Important Whitehall sources told the Sunday Times that government-hired structural engineering experts had “unambiguously and unanimously” advised that the tower should be “carefully dismantled”.
Government officials have told bereaved families to expect a decision on the future of the tower this month. The Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), which has appropriated the tower since 2018, assured families that the tower would not be demolished until the fifth anniversary of the fire in June 2022. A tower Independent Grenfell A memorial commission, made up of representatives of the bereaved, survivors and local residents, was established to plan for a memorial at the site.
Grenfell United, a group for survivors and bereaved families, said it was “shocked” by the development “given the government’s promise that no decision would be made on the future of the tower without full consultation with bereaved and survivors ”.
The statement added: “To date, the government has engaged with less than 10 mourners and survivors on this issue. How can the tower be demolished before the court proceedings are over, when no judge in the country can confirm that this will not hinder future criminal prosecutions? Justice is important to all of us and anything that can prevent justice should not be an option.
“Many in the Grenfell community accept that the removal of the tower is always a matter of when, not if, but the timing should be decided by the mourners, survivors and the community, not the government – Who did nothing to make the changes. necessary to prevent this from happening again.
In May, the Observer reported that relatives of Grenfell Tower fire victims proposed plans to turn the building into a “vertical forest” after the government announced it was ready to demolish the building. . The structure is said to be covered with 72 species of plants, one for each person who died in the June 2017 fire.
The government had issued a letter revealing that it was considering if and when the Grenfell Tower should be dismantled, promising that “community views” would be taken into account after inviting survivors and bereaved families to meetings.
Hisam Choucair, who lost six of his family in the fire, told the Observer at the time: “A tragedy has taken place that should never be forgotten here. If they took it away, they would erase that memory and they would put people through another unimaginable trauma.
“The ashes of our loved ones are in the fabric of this building. “
One option suggested among relatives was the Living Tower, based on the vision of Italian architect Stefano Boeri, who designed many “vertical forests” on buildings across Europe.
Choucair added that relatives of the deceased were considering commissioning their own structural engineers to inspect the site and had requested the help of the Institute of Chartered Engineers to support a full independent assessment.
A spokesperson for MHCLG said: “We know how important and sensitive this decision is, and no decision has been made. Following extensive independent safety advice from structural engineers, we engage closely with the community as we examine the evidence, including the safety issues raised, and what the future of Grenfell Tower should look like.
“We have now published this advisory to ensure that those most affected have access to the information that will inform a decision on the Tower, before it is made.”