quinta-feira, 22 de junho de 2017
Um escândalo chamado SIRESP
Acham mesmo que esta tragédia não tem implicações políticas? Claro que tem. E não são poucas.
João Miguel Tavares
22 de Junho de 2017, 6:45
Dia 26 de Janeiro de 2013, notícia da TVI: “A rede de comunicações SIRESP, usada pelo INEM, polícias e bombeiros, falhou durante o temporal do último fim-de-semana. O socorro às populações vítimas do mau tempo, mas também de doentes urgentes, foi afectado. O SIRESP começou a falhar às 06h18. Às 15h00 de sábado sofreu uma interrupção de mais de duas horas. Os ventos vieram mostrar que polícias, bombeiros e profissionais de emergência médica não podem fiar-se na rede de telefones e de dados que os políticos compraram por 500 milhões de euros.”
Este é um exemplo. Há muitos mais. Ontem, vários jornais noticiaram que há menos de um ano, a 23 de Agosto de 2016, existiu uma nova “falha crítica” do SIRESP num incêndio no Sardoal. Antes disso, a 27 de Janeiro de 2014, a jornalista Ana Leal assinou uma badalada reportagem onde mostrava a ausência de sinal do SIRESP em garagens e em elevadores. Que os hospitais de Santarém, Torres Vedras e Viseu não o conseguiam utilizar. Que até em Lisboa, no Hospital São Francisco Xavier e no próprio aeroporto, não havia rede decente. Em quase todos esses locais, as equipas de emergência preferiam recorrer a telemóveis. Era mais fiável e mais eficaz. O SIRESP – Sistema Integrado das Redes de Emergência e Segurança em Portugal – é uma rede que foi paga por valores absurdos para unificar todas as comunicações em casos de incêndio, tempestades ou terramotos. Funciona excelentemente, excepto em casos de incêndio, tempestades e – temo bem – terramotos.
O SIRESP voltou a falhar no incêndio de Pedrógão Grande. O Expresso Diário contou que existem quatro unidades móveis que podem ser activadas para responder a quebras do sistema, por destruição das torres fixas – que são mantidas, imaginem, pela Meo. Duas dessas unidades são ligeiras mas não dispõem de ligações por satélite. Restam duas unidades pesadas, uma mantida pela GNR, outra pela PSP. A que é mantida pela GNR estava indisponível: aquando da visita do Papa, há cinco semanas, danificou uma das antenas em Fátima, e pelos vistos as antenas de uma rede de emergência demoram tanto a ser arranjadas como as escadas rolantes da Baixa/Chiado. Sobrava a unidade da PSP – e lá foi ela. Chamada às 23 horas de sábado só conseguiu restabelecer as comunicações às oito horas de domingo. É isto o SIRESP.
Há duas coisas que falta apurar: 1) a dimensão do apagão, e até que ponto ele pode estar implicado na tragédia da EN236; 2) porque razão o sistema continua a falhar perante a complacência geral (só faltou ao comandante Vítor Vaz Pinto agradecer publicamente ao SIRESP por falhar pouco tempo de cada vez). Isto, pelo menos, já está apuradíssimo: a PPP SIRESP, um consórcio envolvendo a SLN (actual Galilei, 33%), a PT (30%) e a Motorola (15%), é um escândalo nunca devidamente apurado da nossa democracia. Em 2005, o ministro da Administração Interna Daniel Sanches – que trabalhava para a SLN antes de integrar o governo – e o ministro das Finanças Bagão Félix adjudicaram o negócio por mais de 500 milhões de euros, três dias depois de Pedro Santana Lopes perder as eleições para José Sócrates. Num primeiro momento, António Costa, ministro da Administração Interna de Sócrates, travou a adjudicação, mas acabou por fechar o negócio por 458 milhões. Juntando-lhe as despesas de operação e manutenção são 600 milhões de euros até 2021 por um sistema miserável. Acham mesmo que esta tragédia não tem implicações políticas? Claro que tem. E não são poucas.
Moradores da Baixa e da Sé dizem-se saturados de tantos autocarros turísticos
POR O CORVO • 22 JUNHO, 2017 •
A circulação e o estacionamento de autocarros turísticos de grande dimensão pelas ruas da Baixa pombalina e da zona da Sé estão a contribuir para uma rápida degradação da qualidade de vida naquelas áreas. O problema tem vindo a intensificar-se, nos últimos anos, à medida do crescimento do fluxo de turistas a visitarem a capital portuguesa. Os moradores reclamam, por isso, a actuação das autoridades municipais, dando assim continuidade a queixas que já não são de hoje. O presidente da Junta de Freguesia de Santa Maria Maior, Miguel Coelho (PS), reconhece-lhes razão e tem vindo a exigir medidas à Câmara Municipal de Lisboa (CML), desde há mais de dois anos. Mas no terreno pouco se vê. Como consequência, o PSD pede a rápida criação de um muito prometido regulamento, que, entre outras coisas, permita “interditar o trânsito de autocarros turísticos em algumas artérias de zonas históricas”.
A proposta dos social-democratas, parte de uma recomendação a apresentar na próxima sessão da Assembleia Municipal de Lisboa (AML), coincide com muitas das exigências feitas por um grupo de residentes, que, a 6 de junho, enviou uma carta a Fernando Medina (PS), presidente da CML, e a Miguel Coelho, denunciado tal cenário e solicitando a tomada de medidas para o contrariar. E elas passam, sobretudo, por “necessidade de interditar a zona da Sé a autocarros turísticos e restringir a passagem dos mesmos na Baixa de Lisboa, assim como o seu estacionamento em toda a área (incluindo o Rossio, onde não raro se vêem vários autocarros estacionados em linha)”. “Vimos também alertar para o estacionamento selvagem na zona da Sé e da Baixa e para a necessidade de maior fiscalização e acção da polícia municipal”, acrescentam.
Dizendo compreender a importância económica da actividade turística, os autores da carta – assinada por mais de nove dezenas de residentes – dizem, todavia, não aceitar que a mesma implique “infracções à lei” e “situações de perigo”, bem como o sacrifício dos que ali habitam permanentemente. “Na generalidade das cidades europeias cujos centros históricos atraem muito turismo, os turistas vão a pé até aos monumentos. É incompreensível que em Lisboa se permita parqueamento de pesados de turismo no meio da estrada à porta da Sé, inclusive obstaculizando a respectiva visibilidade”, escrevem. “A zona não tem condições para a passagem e muito menos estacionamento de veículos pesados; o estacionamento só pode efectuar-se em contravenção do Código da Estrada, mas estranhamente, ao longo de décadas, é notória a tolerância das autoridades face à ilegalidade”, acrescentam.
Replicando o que alguns haviam dito a O Corvo, há quase dois anos, os moradores dizem na missiva que quem reside junto à Sé sofre, há anos, com especial acuidade. É descrito um quadro de “inferno de trânsito e de engarrafamentos, com casos de perigo público (quando se obrigam os veículos que sobem a Rua de Santo António à Sé a avançar em contramão num local sem visibilidade), causados pela passagem e estacionamento, na estrada, de enormes autocarros turísticos”. O que, notam, faz perigar a circulação de veículos de emergência. Por causa disso, e apontando a recente criação pela Câmara Municipal do Porto de um regulamento para veículos turísticos, os subscritores pedem a Medina “que tome as medidas necessárias para assegurar, desde já, o cumprimento da lei no que se refere ao estacionamento quer de autocarros quer de carrinhas turísticas em frente à Sé e nas imediações” e que “que interdite a entrada de pesados na zona, que é demasiado estreita para a circulação destes veículos”.
No mesmo sentido vai a proposta do PSD, a discutir na assembleia municipal, a 27 de junho (terça-feira). O texto assinado pela eleita Margarida Saavedra recomenda à câmara que “estude a possibilidade de criação de áreas de paragem exclusivas para autocarros turísticos, de forma a que os mesmos não condicionem o trânsito nas zonas históricas” e “estude a possibilidade de interditar o trânsito de autocarros turísticos em algumas artérias de zonas históricas”. Mas também pede à autarquia informações “sobre os últimos desenvolvimentos relativamente ao anunciado Regulamento Municipal respeitante à Circulação de Veículos Afectos à Actividade de Animação Turística, que esteve em consulta pública no início deste ano”.
Nos considerandos à sua recomendação, os social-democratas consideram que o crescente afluxo de turistas se “reflecte numa pressão sobre a cidade a todos os níveis – uma realidade inegável, e que tem causado dificuldades aos seus moradores”, apontando a Baixa e o Chiado como áreas particularmente sensíveis. “Para além de vários outros problemas já identificados, o transporte dos turistas para essas zonas é um dos principais problemas com que a cidade tem neste momento de lidar – qualquer lisboeta já se apercebeu das dificuldades que existem no trânsito causadas pelos autocarros turísticos”, escreve Margarida Saavedra. E acrescenta: “Em zonas como o Bairro Alto, Sé ou Rossio, os ditos autocarros entopem o trânsito, chegando mesmo a estacionar de forma abusiva em algumas áreas, condicionando o dia a dia de quem quer continuar a viver em Lisboa”.
Questionado por O Corvo sobre as queixas dos moradores, o presidente da Junta de Freguesia de Santa Maria Maior diz concordar plenamente com as mesmas e até confessa desconhecer as razões pelas quais os autocarros continuam a circular naquelas zonas. “Por mim, já não poderiam entrar há muito tempo. Trata-se de algo manifestamente agressivo, quer para os residentes, quer para quem ali passa ou até para os próprios turistas, que não podem desfrutar dos monumentos em condições”, afirma Miguel Coelho, que considera ser este um problema “crónico” causado por “falta de fiscalização”. O autarca assume que tem falado “recorrentemente” com a CML sobre esta questão. Apesar disso, o problema mantém-se. Pior, parece ter-se agravado, concede. “Isto, como está, não faz sentido. Quem trabalha no turismo, ou arranja veículos mais pequenos ou então encontra forma de levar as pessoas a andar pé naquela zona”, preconiza.
Texto: Samuel Alemão
Largo de São Carlos volta a receber espetáculos de música e dança
A Orquestra Sinfónica Portuguesa, o Coro do Teatro Nacional de São Carlos e a Companhia Nacional de Bailado regressam ao Festival ao Largo Millennium.
O Largo de São Carlos volta a ser palco de 14 noites com espetáculos música e dança. Entre 7 e 29 de julho, os intérpretes da Orquestra Sinfónica Portuguesa, do Coro do Teatro Nacional de São Carlos e da Companhia Nacional de Bailado, acompanhados por convidados especiais, regressam para a edição de 2017 do Festival ao Largo Millennium, de entrada livre. Os concertos de abertura do festival, a 7 e 8 de julho, são marcados pelo regresso da maestrina Joana Carneiro, que conduzirá a Orquestra Sinfónica Portuguesa por um programa de influência jazzística, com obras de Bernstein e Ravel. O pianista Pedro Costa, vencedor do concurso de interpretação do Festival do Estoril, será o solista. Entre os convidados deste ano, contam-se a Orquestra Filarmónica de Zagreb, a Orquestra Metropolitana de Lisboa, a Orquestra Clássica da Madeira e o agrupamento Brass Factory, formado por solistas da Metropolitana. O Festival ao Largo Millennium termina, como já é hábito, com a Companhia Nacional de Bailado, nos dias 27, 28 e 29 de julho. O programa combina as obras Quinze Bailarinos, do português Rui Lopes Graça, e Minus 16 do israelita Ohad Naharin. O programa completo do Festival ao Largo Millennium pode ser consultado aqui:
Enquanto a espiral do preço das casas no Reino Unido continua a descer, este artigo do FT é uma peça de propaganda para garantir que a espiral especulativa em Lisboa continue a crescer …
Preços comportáveis para os habitante e residentes Locais, os chamados “autóctenes” !?
€400,000 A one-bedroom pied-à-terre apartment in the central district of Chiado
€800,000 A three-bedroom apartment with a terrace in Bairro Alto
Para alugar : T3 a 2.000 euros por mês
Lisbon’s ‘golden visa’ age: residency scheme boosts homes market
The city is attracting more buyers from abroad, just as housing reforms have aided developers
11 HOURS AGO by: Hugo Cox
Twenty years ago, Lisbon’s housing market was stagnant. Long-standing rent controls gave landlords little flexibility to increase rent or remove tenants. As such, there was little incentive for landlords to spend money on their buildings, says José Salazar Rodrigues, one of Lisbon’s leading commercial agents. Throughout the city, blocks were neglected and façades were a decaying mess of poorly kept stonework and peeling paint. The planning approvals process was a morass of red tape; developers could easily wait for six years before being granted a permit to develop a building.
Following his election in 2007 — and despite his socialist credentials — Lisbon’s mayor António Costa began a process of deregulation. The city’s draconian rent controls were moderated and the painful bureaucracy of permits was streamlined. “A new tax regime was introduced, including a cut to sales tax and a big reduction on VAT for new developments,” says Patrick Dewerbe, a tax partner at local law firm CMS Rui Pena & Arnaut.
Costa is now Portugal’s prime minister and his socialist government is welcoming foreigners to the country’s property market. The “golden visa” programme, introduced in 2012, has meant that as Lisbon has become more attractive to developers, it has also become more appealing to buyers from abroad.
The scheme grants residency to anyone who spends at least €500,000 on property. Once granted, recipients must spend at least a week in the country for the first year and a total of two weeks every two years thereafter — a small sacrifice for unencumbered travel throughout much of Europe. Government data show that more than €1bn has been invested in property via the golden visa scheme in the past year and almost €3bn since its launch.
Interest from abroad has helped boost prices. Average sale prices in Lisbon gained 6 per cent in the year to April, and 16 per cent in the past three years, according to Savills. Despite these gains, homes in the city remain a very affordable €1,350 per sq metre.
The high concentration of historic buildings in central Lisbon has helped too. The city’s strict planning code has long protected these from the wrecking ball, meaning that most new prime developments are top-to-toe restorations, from complete internal refits to the resurrection of tired façades.
Six-bedroom, detached villa in Lapa, €3.5m
In the city’s Alfama neighbourhood, Athena Advisers is selling a three-bedroom apartment with a garden and a good view of the Tagus river for €1.9m. The property is in the Santa Helena development on Largo do Sequeira, where the original buildings date back to the 16th century. In Lapa, a well-appointed western district home to several embassies, Fine & Country is selling a detached, six-bedroom villa for €3.5m.
There are also alluring options outside the city. Besides the plentiful supply of fancy beach resorts nearby, such as Estoril and Cascais — nicknamed “cash-cash” by the pupils at local international schools — which are stocked with sprawling top-end villas, there is also plenty to keep golfers entertained. Belas Clube de Campo, half an hour’s drive inland from Lisbon, is a purpose-built development of villas and townhouses, including a championship golf course and a swanky clubhouse. Andre Jordan Group is selling a three-bedroom villa there for €995,000.
Three-bedroom villa at Belas Clube de Campo, €995,000
Government figures show a market that until recently was dominated by Chinese buyers: almost four out of five visas under the scheme have gone to Chinese. Between 2013 and 2015 frenetic buying distorted prices. “They were so desperate for the golden visa that they would pay €500,000 for homes worth half that,” says Rodrigues.
Today, however, the biggest demand is from Turkey, says Charles Roberts of Fine & Country. He estimates that Turkish nationals account for two-thirds of current golden visa applications. Smarting under the effects of an increasingly autocratic political regime and a run of terrorist attacks at home, they are keen to get money out of the country.
Tax breaks compound the appeal of the golden visa. Under Portugal’s “non-habitual resident” scheme, second-home owners from abroad who spend 183 days or more in the country per year may get considerable tax perks. These include, for the first 10 years, exemption from any tax on foreign-sourced pensions, dividends or employment income. For many foreign retirees and entrepreneurs, this means the majority of their income is tax free.
For rich buyers this is a compelling prospect. Roberts recently sold a house in Estoril for €4m to a retired Swedish executive. The buyer had worked around the world, had senior management positions in a host of international companies and collected an impressive portfolio of pensions. “I asked him how much [moving to Portugal] meant he saved from Sweden’s tough income tax regime. It was enough to pay for the house in four years,” he says.
● Foreign buyers can typically get local mortgages for about half the value of their home, according to agents
● Buying costs — including sales taxes, land registry and stamp duty — are about 7 per cent. An annual 0.3 per cent is charged on the home’s ratable value
● Regular flights connect London with Lisbon in roughly two hours, 40 minutes
What you can buy for . . .
€400,000 A one-bedroom pied-à-terre apartment in the central district of Chiado
€800,000 A three-bedroom apartment with a terrace in Bairro Alto
€2m A five-bedroom villa with pool and garden near the seafront in Estoril
More homes at propertylistings.ft.com
Hang on a second': Boris Johnson flounders on interview circuit
The foreign secretary got into difficulties over the details of the Queen’s speech when doing the rounds of the broadcasters
Wednesday 21 June 2017 21.37 BST Last modified on Thursday 22 June 2017 00.40 BST
Boris Johnson struggled to explain the key points of the Queen’s speech in a radio interview on Wednesday night, repeatedly pausing and sighing “hang on a second” as he could be heard riffling through papers.
The foreign secretary was sent out to promote the Conservatives’ legislative priorities for this parliament, with interviews on Sky News and Channel 4 News as well as Radio 4’s PM.
Johnson appeared to have the greatest difficulties with PM presenter Eddie Mair’s questions about the measures the speech contained to tackle the “burning injustices” identified by Theresa May.
Mair began by asking the MP what the Queen’s speech would do to tackle discrimination against black people in the criminal justice system – an issue highlighted by the prime minister when she took office last year.
Johnson replied hesitantly: “Well, there are measures, I believe, in the bill on the courts which I think is supposed to address some of those issues. I think one thing in particular that we are looking at is measures to ... hang on a second ... there are all sorts of measures that we want to take to ensure that we do not discriminate against everybody.”
The interview can be heard on the BBC iPlayer and begins at about 26 mins.
Mair then asked about how the speech would help white working class boys attend university and the foreign secretary gave a response that avoided answering Mair’s question.
The presenter then turned to mental health care, at which point Johnson tried to return to the first question, only to be told by Mair: “It’s not a Two Ronnies sketch – you can’t answer the question before last.”
Asked why so many measures from the Conservative manifesto had been ditched so soon after the election, Johnson was more candid. “I’m not going to hide it from you that the election did not turn out exactly as we would have hoped,” he replied. “It’s our job to form a government if we possibly can and to get on with what I think is a very progressive Queen’s speech.”
Asked what the point of the prime minister was given the doubt about whether the Tories would be able to get legislation through the Commons, Johnson said: “The point of the prime minister is to lead the country, to give a lead on these key issues and to take this Queen’s speech through, and she will. She will do a great job. The people of this country, I think, have had pretty much enough of elections. I think most people want a period of calm.”
The Leave campaigner also told Channel 4 News that Brexit could be finalised in two years with no transitional deal. “What I certainly think we can do is get the best of both worlds”, Johnson said. That would mean “frictionless, tariff-free trade”, while “also being able to do free trade deals”.
He also said he was not about to challenge May for the Tory leadership: “We have got to get on and deliver on the priorities of the people.”
Johnson also seemed to suggest that a controversial visit by President Donald Trump would go ahead later this year.
He told Sky News that a date was not mentioned in the Queen’s speech on Wednesday because a date was yet to be agreed with the White House.
State opening of parliament a crowning humiliation for Maybot
With most of the Tory manifesto dumped after the general election the Queen was able to rattle through her speech
Wednesday 21 June 2017 19.20 BST Last modified on Thursday 22 June 2017 00.50 BST
The crown wasn’t at all happy. Normally it got to sit on the Queen’s head; now it was made to ride in a separate limo. The Queen also didn’t look best pleased by the lack of pursuivants, heralds and ladies of the bedchamber. Her expression never rose above the miserable throughout. Still, at least she was able to make a statement of sorts by wearing a hat in the style of an EU flag. Suck on that, Maybot. There were even empty seats in the Lords. A threadbare state opening of parliament for a threadbare government.
It was all done and dusted in little more than 20 minutes. The longest part was the wait for Black Rod to summon all the MPs from the Commons. Her majesty looked up briefly to check the body language between the Maybot and Jeremy Corbyn. Not good. Come to think of it, the sexual chemistry between the Maybot and her own party wasn’t much better.
The lord chancellor handed the Queen a copy of the speech. Brenda flicked through the largely blank pages with a mixture of distaste and disbelief. Was this all the Maybot could come up with after delaying the state opening by a couple of days. “My government will ...” she began, her eyes beginning to close.
It turned out that what her government would be doing most of was dumping large parts of the manifesto on which it had been elected. Out with grammar schools, out with scrapping free school meals and the winter fuel allowance, out with the dementia tax, out with energy price caps. Damn it, the Maybot was even reneging on her promise to reinstate fox hunting. That was the one bit of the speech the Queen had actually been looking forward to.
After limping her way through a series of vague commitments on Brexit along with a promise to unite the country – good luck with that one, she thought, you can’t even unite your own party – Brenda hit the home straight. “My government is committed to ...”. To scraping the barrel with a whole load of vague promises on space travel and electric cars that had been made in previous Queen’s speeches.
“It’s almost enough to make one want to abdicate,” the Queen muttered to Prince Charles, who was standing in for the unwell Duke of Edinburgh, on the way out.
“Great idea, Mummy,” said the Prince of Wales, his ears perking up.
“Only joking. Let’s fawk awf to Ascot.”
With the Queen safely at the races, the Commons reconvened two hours later to debate the speech. As is customary, proceedings began with two speeches from backbenchers. As isn’t so usual, these were neither sparkling nor witty. Perhaps Tories Richard Benyon and Kwasi Kwarteng had decided it was more appropriate to live down to the occasion and keep things dismal.
Jeremy Corbyn stood up and paused. So many open goals, so little time to score them. He eventually opted to begin on a serious note with the Grenfell Tower fire and the terror attacks, before going on to wonder if it was not a little unusual not to implement any of the key promises in a manifesto. A manifesto that had been deleted from the Conservative website only that morning.
This was a new energised and empowered Corbyn and the Tories didn’t quite know how to react to him. For years they had been treating him as a joke; now they were being forced to accept he was a possible future prime minister. They didn’t seem to like it much. Corbyn did ramble a bit towards the end, but you can’t blame him for getting carried away. The way things are shaping up, there’s going to be a lot of days in parliament when he gets the better of the exchanges. Without even needing to be particularly good.
There was a desperation to the roar which greeted the Maybot from the Tory benches. A primal scream of despair. The Maybot only confirmed their fears. After an OK start, she rather fell apart. She didn’t seem to know much about Brexit. Or anything else, for that matter. She just went back to her tried and tested method of saying nothing of any meaning till everyone tuned out. Maybots are as Maybots do.
When Labour MPs pointed out that the election hadn’t actually gone that well for her and she couldn’t do a deal with the DUP, never mind 27 EU countries, her memory files crashed. “I won, I won,” she cried. The expressions on those around her suggested otherwise. Freewheelin’ Phil grimaced. Boris yawned. Their time would come.
Rehousing of Grenfell Tower families in luxury block gets mixed response
While some residents welcome the families to Kensington Row others are less positive with concerns over future property prices
Wednesday 21 June 2017 18.10 BST Last modified on Wednesday 21 June 2017 22.38 BST
Two miles south of the charred skeleton of Grenfell Tower is a large complex of sleek new apartments that some of those displaced by last week’s inferno will soon be able to call home.
Kensington Row’s manicured lawns, clipped trees and burbling fountains are a haven from the rumbling traffic of two busy London thoroughfares, and its spacious, air-conditioned foyers a relief from June’s oppressive heatwave.
Four unfinished blocks house the 68 flats purchased by the Corporation of London for families who lost their homes in Grenfell Tower. Workmen had been instructed not to talk to the media, but one said there was now a rush to complete the building work. “It’s a brilliant idea,” he said of the resettlement plan.
Among those exercising dogs and small children, the views were more mixed. “It’s so unfair,” said Maria, who was reading the news in the Evening Standard with two neighbours.
She bought her flat two years ago for a sum she was unwilling to disclose. “We paid a lot of money to live here, and we worked hard for it. Now these people are going to come along, and they won’t even be paying the service charge.”
Nick, who pays £2,500 a month rent for a one-bedroom flat in the complex, also expressed doubts about the plan. “Who are the real tenants of Grenfell Tower?” he asked. “It seems as though a lot of flats there were sublet. Now the people whose names are on the tenancies will get rehoused here, and then they’ll rent the flats out on the private market. And the people who were actually living unofficially in the tower at the time of the fire won’t get rehoused.
“I’m very sad that people have lost their homes, but there are a lot of people here who have bought flats and will now see the values drop. It will degrade things. And it opens up a can of worms in the housing market.”
AJ, who moved into his £2,500-per-month one bedroom flat less than two months ago, said he was neutral about the plan. “I’m Switzerland,” he announced while walking Enzo, his chow chow.
“I love it here. There are great facilities – a pool, cinema, gym, spa. Porters are on duty 24 hours a day. It’s well built and well maintained. The other day I had a problem with the air conditioning and it was fixed in half an hour.”
He had been horrified at the fire. “It was dreadful, I had friends living there. We gave stuff, and went up and helped for a couple days last week. In my eyes everyone should be equal.”
Waiting to collect children outside the Kensington primary academy, Jaime Paul thought the plan to rehouse Grenfell Tower residents in the complex was a good thing.
“These flats are being wasted. There are so many empty ones,” she said. “People who are worried about the values of their homes are just being selfish.”
In the complex’s marketing suite, a smartly dressed saleswoman declined to give details about the announcement or the facilities available to residents. A concierge directed the Guardian to the complex manager, who insisted the flats where Grenfell Tower residents would be housed were under separate management, although built and owned by the same developers.
Edmond, an Albanian worker who lays parquet floors in the apartments, said the Grenfell Tower rehousing plan would never come to pass. “It’s not going to happen, trust me. Go and have a look at the cars down there,” he said, gesturing at the underground car park as a black Jaguar with a personalised numberplate purred down the ramp to the remote-controlled gates.
“You can write what you like, but trust me, money rules the world. People like me are going to live here? Never.”