Residents’ complaints were regularly ignored by officials, says Emma Dent Coad

Emma Dent Coad, the recently-elected Labour MP for Kensington, has called on the Kensington & Chelsea council to completely re-think its approach to social housing in the wake of the Grenfell disaster.

Writing in the Evening Standard last night, Dent Coad said the residents of Grenfell Tower had complained for years about potential fire safety hazards in their block but had been ignored.

Accusing the council of ‘sanitising poverty’, she it had put in place a “punitive estate development schedule which I cannot imagine can be implemented. It has plans to chomp through our estates to ‘improve’ people’s lives. It will do nothing of the sort.

“The first post-war estate to be developed, Wornington Green, is very poorly designed and badly constructed; three-year-old buildings have seen ceilings leak and collapse, most recently a floor collapse, dodgy electrics and leaky plumbing,” she wrote.

Before becoming the constituency’s MP in last week’s general election, Dent Coad was a local councillor and had campaigned for years about the borough’s housing problems.

In her piece in the Standard she went on: “Residents on the Lancaster West Estate, where Grenfell Tower now stands like a skeleton, have been watching what happened at Wornington Green with dread, while the council continues to act as PR for estate agents and developers.” 

People were angry, Dent Coad wrote. “I don’t blame them. We need a complete reappraisal of council housing stock and a halt to the council’s development plans.” 

Newspaper reports have highlighted that Dent Coad was on the borough’s housing scrutiny committee until May 2014.

Building has contacted Kensington & Chelsea council for comment.