The Save Earls Court Campaign is set to hold a press conference at the House of Commons tomorrow (7 February) and is expected to respond to Transport for London (TfL) claiming it had reached “final stages of the deal” to redevelop the venue site, following a board meeting.
TfL and developer Capital & Counties (CapCo) are thought to have approved plans to create a joint venture to speed up the redevelopment of the west London site. TfL owns the freehold to the Earls Court 1 and 2 exhibition centres and Capco is the leaseholder. Such a plan could bring forward the £8bn Earls Court Masterplan.
Demolition of the venue is expected to start next year, with building work phased over 15 years. The Masterplan received planning consent from the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham and the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea last November.
The Save Earls Court Campaign press conference will be held at noon on Friday at the House of Commons and will feature a panel of speakers including Karim Halwagi, CEO of the Association of Event Organisers (AEO); Chair of the London Assembly, Darren Johnson AM; Murad Qureshi AM; Andy Slaughter MP; and Linda Wade, Chair of the Earl’s Court Area Action Group/Save Earl’s Court campaign.
“Following the announcement by TfL on their joint venture agreement with Capital & Counties, we are once again hugely disappointed that the powers-that-be persist in ignoring key facts as to the huge value the Earls Court Exhibition Centre already delivers,” said Halwagi.
“The proposed redevelopment claims to offer benefits in the form of new jobs and more housing, but there will be no assisted housing on the site of the exhibition centres – only luxury apartments for investors – and regarding the proposed creation of 12,000 jobs, the exhibition centre currently supports 12,500 jobs across London, so it will only serve to diminish the jobs market.
“Now is the time for everyone – not just the exhibition and events industry – to get involved. Tomorrow’s press conference is being held to add pace and reach to what is a growing level of awareness. We aim to spread the word about this disastrous proposal for residential redevelopment in London, whilst reiterating the enormous strength of the exhibitions and events industry, and its importance for economic contribution on a national scale.”
London Mayor Boris Johnson approved the demolition of Earls Court in July 2013, with Communities Secretary Eric Pickles also choosing not to ’call-in’ the decision.
The Mayor also chose not to regard appeals from the AEO to halt the Earls Court decision.
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