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Mayor of London approves controversial Earls Court redevelopment plans

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Mayor of London approves controversial Earls Court redevelopment plans

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Communities, Housing

Mayor of London approves controversial Earls Court redevelopment plans Mayor of London approves controversial Earls Court redevelopment plans

Controversial plans for the large-scale redevelopment of Earls Court and West Kensington have been approved by the Mayor of London.

The scheme involves demolishing the Earls Court Exhibition Centre along with two housing estates.

Developers EC Properties LP, a subsidiary of Capital & Counties Properties PLC, want to create four "villages" and a "high street" and say the plans will create 7,500 homes and thousands of permanent jobs. But campaigners, including residents of the West Kensington & Gibbs Green estates, have fought a long-running battle against the plans.

London mayor Boris Johnson had options to turn down the scheme or call for a public hearing when he met with his planning team on Wednesday.

He said he was "acutely aware of the concerns" some residents had.

But, he added: “I’m in no doubt that the development proposed for Earls Court and West Kensington will provide a massive boost not just to this part of the capital, but to London’s wider economy as well. It is a landmark project that will deliver much needed jobs, new homes and improved infrastructure and will make this strategically important part of the capital an even better to place to live, work and visit."

Green Party London Assembly Member Darren Johnson said: “Boris Johnson claims to be a champion of the London economy and making it more attractive to foreign investment.

"Yet he has backed the demolition of the exhibition centres that are estimated to be worth over a billion pound to London’s real economy, that attract one a half million visitors from across London and the world, thirty thousand exhibitors and hundreds of events each year. This decision will definitely see London lose out to global rivals.

“By backing this proposal, Boris Johnson is condemning this part of London into a playground for the super rich with mostly extortionately priced homes that will not help the vast majority of ordinary people”

Labour London Assembly Member Tom Copley said on Twitter: "Very disappointed but not at all surprised that the Mayor has approved demolition of Earls Court Exhibition Centre.

"An appalling decision."

Based on a masterplan by world renowned architect Sir Terry Farrell, the 77-acre development, straddling the boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham, is expected to create up to 9,500 new permanent jobs, with an additional 36,000 construction jobs during the build phase. It will also include 7,583 new homes, new shops, offices, leisure facilities, public open space, a new school, new transport links, healthcare centre and community centre on the 77 acre site.

Welcoming the mayor's decision, H&F Council Leader, Cllr Nicholas Botterill said: “The redevelopment of Earls Court is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for the local residents to benefit from a multi-billion pound investment in their own neighbourhood.

"We are delighted that the Mayor of London has given his support for one of the biggest schemes in London for decades. Earls Court has the potential to be as important for West London as the Olympics were for east London. This scheme will usher in a new generation of prosperity and opportunity for tens of thousands of west Londoners.”

As part of the scheme, the Council has entered into a Conditional Land Sale Agreement (CLSA) with EC Properties LP to include the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates in the wider development of the area.

This week residents living on the estates will be informed by EC Properties LP and Hammersmith & Fulham Council when they are likely to move into new housing provided by the development. The new phasing plan halves the target construction period from 20 years to an estimated 10. Just under a quarter (151) of the 760 replacement homes could be ready to be occupied between 2016 and 2018 in the first phase of construction.

An exhibition is being held for residents on the estates at Earls Court next week (July 8-10) to provide information to residents about when they will move, what their next steps involve, how their rights are protected and the type of homes into which they will be moving.

Cllr Botterill added: “We have said all along that we will only agree to the estates being included in the redevelopment of Earls Court if it benefitted people living on the estates. Estate residents are being offered some of the best terms ever negotiated in any regeneration scheme in the country. There can be no doubt that this scheme will have enormous benefits for both estate residents and London as a whole.”

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