It is expected that police action may follow publication of the final report of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry which is due to be published next year.
No official decision on its future has yet been made, partly due to views from some that it should remain in place as a memorial itself.
A new report from the Grenfell Tower Memorial Commission, a group including the bereaved, former residents of the tower and current nearby residents, has revealed that a permanent space of remembrance of the 2017 tragedy may not be completed until 2027.
Water and the use of light were also mentioned by those surveyed and ‘should be considered in the process of developing the memorial’.
The report says: ‘Following the publication of this report, we will launch our search for a specialist and community-minded design team.
It came to its conclusions after consulting bereaved families, survivors and residents in the local area.
The commission’s report says: ‘We know this is a hugely difficult area with many different views within the Grenfell community. In the coming months, we will all need to work through how we can respect the sensitivities on all sides.
The commission notes that the memorial – close to the tower – would be a place for those ‘who had their lives changed forever by events on that night’ to mourn and reflect. It would also stand as a ‘testament to the consequences of the past neglect of the views and welfare of the Grenfell community.’
As of September, police had interviewed 56 people under caution in relation to the fire though no criminal charges have yet been brought.
Elsewhere, it says a physical and digital archive will be created as well as a long-term public exhibition, in a separate location, to teach about the tragedy, in which 72 people died.
‘This site must be agreed with bereaved family members and survivors, and in consultation with local faith leaders. We ask the government to work with the mayor of London and local faith leaders to identify such a site.’
The co-chairs said: ‘There is an urgent need to create a permanent and fitting space for the Grenfell community to remember, to mourn and to reflect upon their experiences.
‘The design process … will make sure the Grenfell community can better understand what is viable, what is possible and then, most importantly, agree together what is and is not acceptable.’
However, exact timings are also down to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) which has yet to announce what will happen to the remainder of the existing Grenfell Tower.
‘This may be the commission’s second report but it is not the end of the work. What comes next will be the process of working together to choose who will craft and shape the ideas we have heard into a lasting place of remembrance for those no longer with us.’
It calls for the site’s day-to-day management to be carried out by an arm’s length body such as the Royal Parks rather than local or central government.
In 2021, engineers appointed by the government recommended that deconstruction of the remaining Grenfell Tower begin no later than May 2022 for safety reasons.
Elements of the tower that cannot be retained as part of the memorial should be ‘safely and respectfully ‘laid to rest’ at a second, appropriate, accessible and sacred site’, it adds.
‘We anticipate doing this next spring, and that the team will be selected in late 2024. We envisage the memorial design will have been developed with the community by late 2025, and that the memorial build could begin from late 2026.’
The commission is chaired by former Labour minister Paul Boateng and solicitor Thelma Stober. It was established in 2020 following discussions dating back to 2018.
The exact shape of the memorial has not yet been decided but the commission says it should include a garden and artwork that evokes ‘community, love, hope, sadness and those who were taken from us’, as well as a way to reflect the children lost in the tragedy.
The DLUHC has been approached for comment about the report and when it will make a decision on the tower’s future.
‘In our journey so far, we have always moved at the pace that the unique Grenfell community needed, with each step taken coming from having listened to everyone who wished to share their views. We pay tribute to the incredible kindness and humility that the Grenfell community continue to display, and to the hard work and dedication of the community representatives on the commission. It is due to their hard work, personal sacrifice and dedication that we have made the progress we have.