Demolition of Earls Court rumoured

Friday 22 Jan 2010

Lights could be turned out on landmark venue after over 70 years

A collaboration agreement has been signed by Capital & Counties (Capco), Transport for London (TfL) and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham for the redevelopment of the Earls Court Regeneration area, which could result in the demolition of the legendary venue. Property developer, Capco recently acquired full ownership of Earls Court and Olympia Group and last year submitted proposals to the Council for the 67-acre site to include 10,000 homes, a hotel, office space, and shopping and leisure facilities.

Earls Court was built in 1935 and since then has hosted a wide range of events, exhibitions and conferences. With its instantly recognisable Art Deco design, it has become a centre pin of the West Kensington community. The landmark will remain intact at least until the end of the 2012 Olympics as it has been chosen to host the volleyball tournament.

According to the agreement, the collaborators will aim to deliver a comprehensive redevelopment of the area and create a ‘thriving urban quarter within London containing a vibrant mix of uses’. The scheme aims to bring significant additional economic activity to the area with new jobs and employment opportunities and quality homes.

Subject to funding, the agreement also mentions that an International Convention Centre will be incorporated into the regeneration, involving either the refurbishment or the redevelopment of the Earls Court and Olympia complexes.

As a result of the plans, the tenants’ and residents’ associations of West Kensington and Gibbs Green Estates have proposed a resident-controlled association for the area, asking that Hammersmith and Fulham Council dispose of 750 homes. If this is unsuccessful, the residents want the estates to be transferred to a registered provider in order that they will have more control over management and maintenance.

A spokesperson from EC&O (Earls Court and Olympia) Venues said: “The planning application will not be submitted for at least 12 months. The plans involve developing the site for new business, but it is primarily a residential-led development to provide housing in that area. There seems to be the presumption that Earls Court will close but it is not necessarily the case. It depends on what opportunities present themselves.”

Laura Paton

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