Supported memorial garden plan for Grenfell Tower site

A memorial garden where survivors can “remember together” appears to be created at the site of Grenfell Tower.

Seventy-two people died when a fire engulfed the residential tower block in North Kensington, west London, in June 2017.

No decision has been made on the future of the tower, which is currently covered in a protective shroud which shows a green heart and the message ‘Forever in our hearts’, but the Grenfell Tower Memorial Commission said that A garden was “by far” the most popular idea in a survey of survivors, bereaved parents and local residents.

A monument or a museum could also be set up on the site.

(PA graphics)

(PA graphics)

“The tower itself is a sacred place, but it is currently cordoned off so that the building can be kept safe,” the commission said in a report released Monday.

“Our bereaved families each remember in their own way, but they don’t yet have a peaceful place where they can all come together to grieve.”

The report adds: “It is often easier to live with difficult memories when you can give them an appropriate time and place, and if you do not feel alone.

“Our survivors do not yet have a peaceful place where they can choose to go to remember together.”

What happens to the tower itself is the government’s decision, but the report says that if it is taken down, materials from the block will be made available for use in the memorial if that is what the community requests.

It has already been agreed that the unidentified remains of anyone who died may also be interred at the memorial site.

The Grenfell Memorial Wall in the grounds of Kensington Aldridge Academy (Jonathan Brady/PA)

(PA Archive)

The commission, which will make its final recommendation next year, said a pact will protect the site from any use contrary to community wishes. Housing is not considered an option for the site due to opposition, particularly from bereaved families.

A design team for the final memorial is expected to be selected by spring 2024 and work could begin by the end of this year.

Around 2,000 people were interviewed for the report, including around 100 bereaved family members and survivors.

Almost two-thirds (64%) said they would like the memorial to include a garden, one-third (33%) would like it to include a work of art or monument and one in 10 (10%) wanted to incorporate a building such as a museum or sheltered space.

Other popular ideas included water features, a place to sit and a space for children.

The memorial commission includes 10 community representatives who said “a lot of progress” had been made – although the work was far from done, adding: “We will never forget. And we hope to create a beautiful, peaceful place where we can remember together.

The commission’s co-chairs are attorney Thelma Stober, who was injured in the July 7 terrorist attacks, and Michael Lockwood, who led the independent team that provided security for the tower and stabilized the building immediately after the attack. fire. He is now the chief executive of the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

In a joint statement, they said: “Our role is to ensure that what happened at Grenfell is never forgotten.

“We know that everyone affected by the tragedy at Grenfell needs a special memorial, where they can come together and that will stand the test of time.

“Today’s report is a big step forward. This reflects the incredible amount of work undertaken by all community representatives on the Memorial Commission, as well as all the bereaved families, survivors and local residents involved over the past two years.

“It has not been an easy task, and the entire community has our deep admiration and full support.”

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