A Question Of Class Division - What’ll Happen To The Grenfell Tower?
14 Days on from the unexpected Grenfell Tower tragedy (14th June 2017), and - in no rush it seems - nothing too much is being done by politicians, albeit a lot of arguing. Arguing as to who is responsible for the root cause of the tower complexes fire itself, be it ethical/social cleansing (local privileged residents allegedly demanding that the tower was less of a visual eyesore leading to 2016s questionable renovations), the company that renovated the tower block, the local borough council, the countries seemingly laxed building regulations (that were claimed to have been met throughout the towers renovation), as well as what to do with rehousing its residents, and what actually caused the accident (recent reports seem to confirm it was a faulty fridge-freezer unit, amazingly managing to pinpoint the very make of the unit in question), among other points of focus.
Damning as it is to say, even the death count has yet to be confirmed, with official figures currently sitting at 79+ dead (18 formally identified, 61+ presumed dead) and 74 injured, though other, unofficial, local sources claim the figure is logically more around 100-200 dead. All that can be confirmed following the tragedy is that the public services performed above and beyond in unfathomable conditions, fighting the fire for around 24 hours, facing hellish conditions and images, before the fire was finally extinguished.
Obviously there are many more pressing questions that need answering before asking what should be done now to the tower itself (some questions and allegations of which people will view as leaning towards ‘conspiracy’ territory), but a key question that will need to be answered; what will happen to the Grenfell Tower? Now sitting as a husk of its former self, what is the best course of action to take? There are many options, some examples being: tear down the building completely, possibly erect a memorial garden/space? Renovate the entire complex, again, working with what remains of the tower (not much one would imagine)? Knocking down the tower complex and rebuilding as it was for the residents who previously resided there? Or regenerate the small space, say, a new high-rise of ‘luxury flats’ to further bolster the areas rich/luxury “image”? There’s only one option here that would seem right and respectful, but it’s also the unlikely of options to be chosen in the future; that’s to rebuild the complex, properly, for the previous residents of the Grenfell Tower, possibly rewriting the - now questionable - building regulations for the UK as it goes. Much like how the design of tower blocks were rewritten in 1971 as a result of a block of flats at Ronan Point (East London) partly collapsing following a gas explosion in a kitchen in 1968.
Why is this an unlikely option to occur though? Especially as, to many, it would seem to be the only real option to think of going with. Fundamentally, costs (the Grenfell Towers 2016 renovation took a reported £10million to complete), and any construction company that would take on such a project would inevitably face a high amount of scrutiny throughout the process, with the end result harvesting a lack of profit. Going into “conspiracy territory” the idea of simply rebuilding the tower for the previous residents would almost certainly be met with disapproval from local privileged residents, seeing an opportunity to further develop the area for potential profit, and boosting the boroughs ‘reputation’. Something which would only confirm the currently argued “conspiracy-thinking,” rich-poor class division.
Although it is clearly too early to be asking such a question, the question will inevitably come up in months or years even to come, and how it's answered will show a lot about the state of the UK as a whole, and the balance between the rich minority and poor majority of the nation.