Earls Court owner showcases development plan in Cannes

Earls Court venue owner Capital and Counties (CapCo) showcased its plans for redeveloping the West London exhibition venue site at the big MIPIM property show in Cannes last week.

The scheme won the Future Projects award against stiff competition at the MIPIM awards. The Earls Court Development Company gave property developers a sneak preview of its masterplan due to be exhibited to the British public at Earls Court 18 March.

A planning application for the multi-billion pound scheme will be submitted in June 2011, although there is still doubt whether the West Kensington and Gibbs Green council properties will be included in the redevelopment; if not it would cut the project from 72 to 52 acres. Some residents are attempting to use new planning laws to take control of their estate. The masterplan makes these estates ‘detachable’.

CapCo’s audited preliminary results for last year acknowledged the new rights could render the council “unable to secure vacant possession of its land interests”.

CapCo’s Investment Director Gary Yardley has said that the Gibbs Green and West Kensington estates would only be included in any development “if it is right for residents living there”.

The Council claims to have been working with a steering group of 25 residents interested in what the scheme can offer them, though the two tenants and residents’ associations insist that a majority on the estates support them.

CapCo claims that 70 per cent of the 690 tenants and 160 owners are ready to accept the latest offer made by Hammersmith and Fulham Council of a £5,000-£10,000 relocation package and a new home of similar size on the same terms. Owners can get the value of their flat plus 10 per cent.

Sir Terry Farrell’s plan for two million feet of commercial space and 7,500 homes was met with broad approval by developers in Cannes, however.

CapCo’s Gary Yardley claims the public purse will also benefit, with the council getting 750 more homes and up to £100m for the land on which the existing estates stand.

Transport for London can also cash in to the tune of £100m for the land it owns behind the exhibition centres, once they are pulled down post-2012 Olympics.

Yardley described the plan as “a good story?we are giving a big fat cheque to the public sector”.

The 18 March showcase at Earls Court will consist of four zones, including the history of the area and the story of the project, as well as a scale model of the Earls Court Project masterplan.

The likely legacy for the events industry is a new conference and events centre on the Olympia site.

CN reported 2 March 2011 that CapCo had seen 2010 profits crash 39 per cent. UBM Live is the latest organiser to move a big show from Earls Court. Its International Confex event will run at Excel London in 2012.

Do you have news for CN? Email: pcolston@mashmedia.net

Paul Colston

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Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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