The Conservatives held Kensington and Chelsea in Thursday’s election, despite the council coming in for heavy criticism in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, as voters went to the polls for the first time since the disaster.
Many in Labour had hoped the party could take control of the borough after the council was slammed for their response to the fire which killed 71 people in June last year.
However, the Tories lost just one seat on the council, winning 36 of the 50 available.
Andrew Macleod, a restaurant owner in Kensington and Chelsea, said: “There was a lot of talk in the area about Labour taking the seat, but I think it would take something significant for them to take over.”
He added that he didn’t think the Conservatives holding on to the seat would ‘make much difference’.
“It was handled tragically and appallingly and the only thing that really saved Grenfell in terms of what the response to it was, was the local community and everything the locals did out of their own initiative as opposed to what the government did”, he said.
At last night’s count, council leader Elizabeth Campbell said her party had more to do to ‘rebuild trust’ among residents in the borough, and some residents living in the shadow of Grenfell were disappointed more opposition gains hadn’t been made.
Laura, an addictions counsellor who lives adjacent to the tower, said: “The borough is very stuck, a lot of people are very unhappy at the way things have been dealt [with] and I think a change would have made a lot of difference.
“I thought the sway between Tory and Labour would have been a lot more defined because of Grenfell.
“There’s a lot of angry people and a lot of misinformation as well, people are very upset at the way things have gone.
“I think the council, on the one hand they got a rough time but on the other they could have done a lot more.
“There’s no final answer as to what went wrong or what could have been done better.
“Although I wouldn’t have voted Tory anyway, it lent me towards more of a community-based party who are more in touch with the area.
“But because of a lot of the stronghold of middle and upper classes in this area there’s a lot of leaning towards Tories and I think it’s going to stay that way for some time.”