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Grenfell groups warn of 'disconnection' with public inquiry

CAMPAIGN groups defending the interests of Grenfell Tower survivors have warned of a “disconnection” between them and the public inquiry into last year’s disastrous fire ahead of its resumption next month.

Inquest and Grenfell United, Justice4Grenfell and Relative Justice Humanity for Grenfell wrote to the inquiry on Wednesday to express concerns that survivors and the bereaved do not have sufficient involvement.

They urged the inquiry to move from Holborn Bars in central London to a “more suitable local venue,” so that lawyers for the bereaved, survivors and residents can ask questions in person and gain full disclosure of relevant material held by the inquiry.

The letter stated that Holborn Bars is “remote from the community where the disaster occurred and it is difficult for many of those affected to attend.”

The result is that there is now “a significant lack of community attendance at the inquiry.”

The groups expressed concern that their lawyers have not so far asked questions in person on their behalf and said that not allowing this in future would “raise the issue of effective participation and trust in the process risks further diminishing.”

They also called for more disclosure of evidence to survivors, residents and the bereaved, which would lead to “a collaborative inquiry where those most affected can effectively participate.”

Inquest director Deborah Coles said: “Those most affected must be at the heart of proceedings,” adding that “meaningful engagement” was necessary to “ensure legitimacy.”

She added: “Many of the bereaved, survivors and residents of Grenfell feel that there is a disconnection between them and the inquiry process. This needs to be rectified.”

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