1,652 empty North Kensington, London houses, only 12 Grenfell families rehoused

This video from England says about itself:

2 August 2017

Grenfell Tower: Local council will not force owners of nearby empty homes to live in them

OWNERS of hundreds of unoccupied properties near the Grenfell Tower cannot be compelled to live in them, the local council has said following a newspaper report that oligarchs and foreign royalty were among the absentees. There are 1,652 unoccupied properties in the borough, of which 603 – around a third – have been vacant for more than two years. A further 1,010 are classed as unoccupied and substantially unfurnished, while the remaining 39 have been unoccupied for less than a year while building work takes place. Cllr Kim Taylor-Smith, the council’s deputy leader, said: “If a property has been left unoccupied and unfurnished for two years or more, property owners will be charged an additional 50 per cent of the full council tax charge.

“Unfortunately, we have no powers to compel owners to live in their properties but we can and do offer support and advice to help bring long-term empty properties back into use.” At least 80 people died in the tragedy, while hundreds more from living in the building and surrounding properties were forced from their homes. Cllr Taylor-Smith said the council is “committed” to helping the victims of the disaster and have secured 105 flats for survivors so far.

Yesterday a two-year-old boy became the latest victim of the tragedy to be identified by police. Jeremiah Deen is believed to have been one of the youngest people to die in the blaze, while the death of his mother Zainab Deen, 32, was confirmed at an inquest in July. The fire’s rapid spread through the tower on June 14 has been blamed on external cladding that was installed as a means of modernising the 1970s high-rise. Emergency tests commissioned in the wake of the disaster led to the evacuation of one estate in north London, while yesterday it was announced that a hospital trauma building will close for up to a year due to similar worries. Some 52 inpatient beds will be moved from the trauma unit at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said. . 00FastNews. New source of news.

Another video which used to be on YouTube used to say about itself:

Oligarchs and royalty who keep homes empty near Grenfell

1 August 2017

Tycoons, foreign royalty and oligarchs are leaving properties empty in the borough where the Grenfell Tower fire left scores homeless.

Owners of the 1,652 unoccupied homes in Kensington and Chelsea include former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who bought a seven-bedroom grade II-listed house for £16million in 2015.

Other properties in the West London borough are owned by a Ukrainian billionaire fighting extradition to the US, a former BBC and ITV executive and a luxury property developer.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Thursday, 3 August 2017

1,652 empty properties in North Kensington – only 12 Grenfell Tower families rehoused

THE LABOUR Party yesterday called the revelation that 1,652 properties in North Kensington are unoccupied ‘simply unacceptable’.

These 1,652 empty houses are only North Kensington. There will be many more in South Kensington with its houses for rich people, many of them empty because of speculation.

A local resident and community activist told News Line that he agreed with the statement made by Labour leader Corbyn immediately after the fire on 14th June, when he said that empty properties should be requisitioned and handed to those made homeless by the fire.

John Healey, Labour’s shadow housing minister however refused to repeat Corbyn’s call. He said: ‘When the country is already in the grip of a housing crisis, the fact that properties are left empty is simply unacceptable.

‘The government has long been aware of this problem, and with survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire still to be rehoused seven weeks after the tragedy it is more necessary than ever for ministers to take action.’

He then outlined his idea of what Labour would do. This did not include requisition. North Kensington resident and community activist Shirvin Best told News Line: ‘The empty properties around the area which are just left empty should be taken over.

‘There are a lot of people made homeless by the fire and I totally agree with what Jeremy Corbyn said, that the empty properties should be taken over and handed to the people made homeless by the Grenfell Tower fire.

‘I totally disagree with the use of property as an investment. Homes should be lived in, not left empty just to accrue value. The properties should be taken over. We should shut down K&C local authority, they’ve shown themselves to be useless for the people.

‘It was the community that got together and people who got involved with the donations, the funding, the water, it was the community that got everything done for Grenfell, not K&C, they have failed completely and so has the government as well. It’s a national disaster. I’ve spoken to many people who are still in hotels. They need to be rehoused in the area, not in a tower block. They should be re-housed now in these empty homes.’

Among the empty properties is former Brompton Road tube station building, vacant since it was bought for £53m by the Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash in 2014. Michael Bloomberg, the media billionaire and former New York mayor, bought a seven-bedroom mansion for £16m in 2015 which remains empty.

Other unoccupied properties are owned by offshore companies, including Dukes Lodge London, part of Christian Candy’s luxury property business; and Smech Properties, owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the vice-president of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai.

Across London, 19,845 homes, worth some £9.4 billion ($12 billion), sat idle for over six months in 2016: here.

THE HORROR felt by millions of workers after the Grenfell Tower inferno which claimed the lives of many men, women and children rapidly turned to anger in the hours and days after the fire as it emerged that the disaster was man-made, and that cheap non-fireproof cladding and massive deregulation, both brought in as capitalist measures to maximise profit at the expense of safety, were responsible: here.

SOME 60,000 homes in England have stood empty for at least two years and councils are not using their powers to bring them back into use, according to new figures: here.

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