The Association of Event Organisers (AEO) has decided it is time to lobby Government over Capital and Counties’ proposed demolition of Earls Court event spaces.
Capital and Counties plan to bulldoze the Earls Court complex as part of an ambitious masterplan for mixed residential and business redevelopment of the 77-acre Earls Court area. The plan for what has been branded the Earls Court Opportunity Area (ECOA) is being devised in conjunction with other landowners, Transport for London and Hammersmith and Fulham Council.
Should it be approved, the proposed masterplan would see Earls Court 1 bulldozed in Q3, 2012 as part of the second of seven phases of redevelopment of the ECOA site.
AEO Chief Executive Austen Hawkins said the association was planning to lobby the London Mayor, local and national Governments to stop the plans from coming to fruition.
“The plans to destroy London’s major West End event centre will have disastrous consequences on not only the UK event industry but also on the national and local economy,” he claimed.
“The figures speak for themselves: Earls Court is at the heart of London’s West End and attracts more than 2.5 million visitors, 30,000 exhibiting companies and hundreds of events per year. Together with Olympia it supports £258m of expenditure in their boroughs and over £1.25bn in the London region, and accounts for [directly and indirectly] over 1,000 jobs in the boroughs and around 12,500 in London. One in two Londoners visits the venues every year.
“The loss of Earls Court and the resultant reduction in overseas exhibitors, delegates and business tourists visiting the UK will cost the country billions in lost revenue when we need it most.”
Hawkins also pointed out the demolition of Earls Court was planned at a time when other capital cities were investing in their events space.
“They recognise the enormous economic value exhibitions and events bring to their cities and country; it is extremely worrying that the current plans will see London fall behind the rest of the world in this area,” he continued.
AEO Chairman Doug Emslie echoed Hawkin’s sentiments, pointing out the Olympia Games was proof of the importance of live events to the UK’s economy.
“The UK’s successful Olympic bid was based on its legacy commitment; however there are now plans to knock down one of the venues hosting the Olympics, a legacy of destruction,” he said.
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