Data shows area around Grenfell Tower was among top 10% most deprived areas in England in 2015
From the top floors of the 24-storey Grenfell Tower, residents could see out across Kensington and Chelsea, one of the wealthiest local authorities in the country. Yet the tower and its residents were situated in one of the most deprived areas in England.
The borough is among London’s most unequal, with extreme poverty and wealth living side by side. Data shows that the vicinity of the tower was among the top 10% most deprived areas in England in 2015, ranking alongside parts of Bradford and south Tyneside.
According to the English Indices of Deprivation, there were 11 so-called lower super output areas (LSOAs) in Kensington and Chelsea that ranked in the poorest decile in the country. On the other hand, 14 areas in the local authority were among the 30% least deprived.
Residents repeatedly voiced concerns about fire safety in Grenfell Tower, including that there was only one escape route and no building-wide fire alarm or sprinkler system. They say their concerns were “brushed away” by the Kensington and Chelsea tenant management organisation, which manages thousands of properties for the council.
The constituency of Kensington, which makes up most of the local authority of Kensington and Chelsea, is the wealthiest in England, with an average income tax bill of £51,000 per taxpayer in 2014-15. The average terraced house sold for £4.3m in 2016. The median weekly household income varies widely across the local authority, from £670 to £1,380.
Comparisons have been made between this fire and the Lakanal Tower fire in Southwark, south London, in 2009. That fire broke out on the ninth floor of the tower block, killing six people and injuring at least 20 others. Lakanal Tower was located in a less deprived area, ranking in the bottom 20% in England.
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