21ST CENTURY MODEL ESTATE

Grenfell Tower on the Lancaster West Estate

21st Century Model Estate

In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire of the 14th of June 2017, the residents of Lancaster West found themselves living amidst a constant reminder of the tragedy. Black ash from the scorched tower continued to blow across the estate, transforming the once-vibrant neighbourhood into a grim monument to the disaster.

Years of neglect and poor maintenance by the previous housing management had already eroded trust among residents, and the fire only deepened their scars. The fire traumatised thousands of residents, many of whom had grown up together and shared deep-rooted connections within the community

The tower’s charred shell, wrapped in plastic has become an unending haunting sight for those who call Lancaster West Estate home. Beyond the physical reminders, the fire exposed deeper issues of displacement and gentrification that have plagued the estate for years.

The regeneration of Lancaster West Estate, intended to create a “mixed-income” community, has instead reduced social housing, increased the cost of living, and transformed the socio-economic character of the area, effectively displacing low-income communities. The installation of combustible cladding on Grenfell Tower was part of this regeneration plan, prioritising aesthetics over safety for the benefit of nearby wealthy residents

Residents have witnessed the destruction of communal spaces that once served as community assets, such as the Green Pitch football pitches, eroding the spaces that once fostered unity and togetherness.

With the cost of living crisis hitting the most vulnerable the hardest the regeneration process has also led to rising charges for residents, adding financial strain to an already challenging situation.

Despite promises of comprehensive resident-led refurbishment and the creation of a 21st-century model social housing estate, many on the estate remain sceptical

As the seventh anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire approaches, the residents of Lancaster West Estate remain in the shadow of the tragedy, grappling with the physical, emotional, mental and socio-economic impacts that have reshaped this community. Their stories serve as a reminder of the human cost of negligence, displacement, and the ongoing struggle for safe, affordable housing in the heart of one of the world’s wealthiest boroughs. 

“The residents of Lancaster West Estate remain in the shadow of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, grappling with the physical, emotional, mental and socio-economic impacts that have reshaped this community.”

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