Council leader had ‘never been in high rise’ before Grenfell

New leader says council must regain trust after Grenfell fire. Picture: Getty Images
New leader says council must regain trust after Grenfell fire. Picture: Getty Images
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The incoming leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council had not been in one of the high-rise blocks before the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Elizabeth Campbell, who takes up her post next week after the previous Tory leader was accused of being out of touch, said the council had to regain public trust through actions not words.

Asked if she had ever been in one of the high-rise blocks before the fire, Ms Campbell told the BBC yesterday: “I haven’t been into the high-rise council blocks before, but I am certainly doing that now.”

Ms Campbell pledged the authority would use its financial reserves to build more council housing in the wake of the disaster.

Ms Campbell said: “I make this guarantee that we are going to be the first council in London who are going to build more council homes.”

Pressed on how much of the council’s reserves of £274 million would be used for new housing, Ms Campbell said: “We will definitely put stuff towards it because we have saved for emergency situations.

“I actually make the commitment that we are going to build more council houses.

“We will put our reserves towards building council houses.

“We will be asking the government to contribute to building more council houses.”

Ms Campbell insisted that wealthy people in the borough did care about what had happened.

“I totally reject the fact that just because I live in the south of the borough that I have no understanding of what’s going on in the north of the borough.

“And I also totally reject the whole notion that because we have people in the borough who are wealthy and people who are not wealthy that the wealthy don’t care, they do care.”

Ms Campbell said people could vote the Tories out next year if they were not happy with the response: “As for whether people on the ground think that they need a new council, and new council leaders, we have elections next May and they will be able to vote with their feet.”