Developer the Berkeley Group has said it is fast-tracking the completion of 68 affordable homes in its high-end Kensington Row development to rehouse families and victims of the Grenfell Tower
The government is understood to have bought the flats, designed by Squire & Partners and delivered by the Design Delivery Unit (part of the Scott Brownrigg group), in a deal brokered by The Homes and Communities Agency.
The development in west London by St Edward, a joint venture between Prudential and the Berkeley Group, is one of the most sought after in the area and features private homes with starting prices of around £1.5 million.
The complex is just 1.5 miles from Grenfell Tower, which burned down last week leaving at least 79 dead. The families will be allowed to live in Kensington Row ‘on a permanent basis’.
Although many of the flats are yet to complete, the developer has brought in extra construction staff to ensure the first properties are ready for the families to move in to during July and August.
Berkeley Group chairman Tony Pidgley 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.’
Alex Jeffrey, chief executive of M&G Real Estate, which manages the property interests of Prudential, added: ‘We are shocked and deeply saddened by the Grenfell Tower fire, and are obviously relieved that we can help in some small way by providing homes of high quality within the borough to some of the families who have been affected.’
Kensington row development affordable housing
Meanwhile, Kensington & Chelsea councillor Linda Wade has called on developer Capco to house some of those affected by the fire in empty properties within its Earl’s Court regeneration area.
The company bought the terrace at Empress Place, built in 1864-5, but has yet to submit a planning application for its redevelopment.
Wade, a Liberal Democrat, told the AJ: ‘There are about 28 four-bedroom properties that will be sitting empty [once the crane workers that are currently living there move out later this year].
’The crane operation is due to finish in October. These are four bedroom houses that could house people. Don’t tell me that some couldn’t be brought back when the crane workers leave.’
’They could be brought back into use in the medium term to house those who have lost their homes.’
However it is understood the majority of the homes are being used to house construction and that the remainder are not fit for human habitation.
As an alternative, Capco is understand to have already offered Kensington & Chelsea Council 11 units on the North End Road in the neighbouring borough of Hammersmith & Fulham.