S.O.S EARLS COURT
NEW WEBSITE...NEW PETITION........
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28th January - the Transport for London Bill in the House of Lords will be read in the Unopposed Bills Committee.
31st January - Objections to EC Properties plans for the EC1 and EC2 sites have to be in by the 31st January as previously advised.
5th February - TfL's board meet and may make their decision on the JV arrangement with Capco. We believe that part of this board meeting will be open to the public.
THE EXHIBITION CENTRE HAS BEEN HOST TO COUNTLESS EXHIBITIONS SINCE IT'S OPENING IN 1937 FROM THE IDEAL HOME EXHIBITION, THE MOTOR SHOW, THE ROYAL TOURNAMENT AND THE BOAT SHOW. ARTISTS WHO HAVE PERFORMED THERE INCLUDE THE PINK FLOYD, BOB DYLAN, QUEEN AND MADONNA. IT IS THE MAJOR CULTURAL VENUE IN WEST LONDON, AND AN ARCHITECTURAL GEM.
THERE IS A 'MASTERPLAN' TO REPLACE BOTH EXHIBITION CENTRES AND ACRES AROUND THEM INCLUDING TWO COUNCIL HOUSING ESTATES WITH A SPECULATIVE DEVELOPMENT OF APPARTMENTS, OFFICES AND SHOPS, OF THE KIND THAT INVESTORS LOVE BUT FEW PEOPLE GET TO LIVE IN.
WITH THE CLOSING OF LANGAN’S RECENTLY THERE ARE NOW APPROXIMATELY 20 EMPTY RETAIL UNITS IN THE IMMEDIATE VICINITY. IF OR WHEN THE EXHIBITION CENTRES CLOSE THERE UNDOUBTABLY WILL BE MORE STRAIGHT AWAY. 10 – 20 YEARS LATER ACCORDING TO THE ‘MASTERPLAN’THERE WILL BE A NEW HIGH STREET WITH SHOPS WITHIN THE ADJACENT FOUR VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT. ONE HAS TO WONDER WHAT WILL BECOME OF WHAT IS LEFT OF EARLS COURT’S LOCAL STORES, SHOPS AND BARS BOTH IN THE MEANTIME AND AFTER……. TO SAY NOTHING OF THE CULTURE OF LONDON....
please sign and forward to anyone you think might be concerned, thank you
ALSO ONLINE IS THE DEVELOPER'S 'CONSULTATIVE' WEBSITE WHERE YOU CAN 'HAVE YOUR SAY'...
IN THE MONTHS SINCE IT WAS FIRST SPOTTED THE NUMBER OF PUBLIC CONTRIBUTIONS HAS BARELY INCREASED........BUT WORTH ADDING YOUR VIEWS HERE TOO ....
OUTLINE OF THE DEVELOPMENT AREA .......UPDATE ON 2 LOCAL CONSERVATIVE COUNCILLORS VIEWS - SEEMS SOME LISTENING MAY BE GOING ON..
13 January 2011 | By David Rogers
New legislation could transfer control of houising estates to resident associations blocking council plans to redevelop them
Glenn McMahon, ReporterWednesday, 12 January, 2011
legislation could transfer control of estates from council to tenant and resident groups
Residents on the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates, near Earls Court, have been fighting plans by Hammersmith and Fulham Council to allow a private developer to turn their homes into mixed-use sites for the past 18 months.A COUNCIL’S plans to redevelop housing estates in West London could be in jeopardy after the government expressed its intent to allow residents to take over their estates.
But a Department of Communities and Local Government official has now confirmed the government will develop regulations, Section 34 of the Housing Act, to enable tenants to take control of their estates, potentially preventing local authorities from forcing through their own development plans.
Sally Taylor, chair of West Kensington Tenants and Residents Association, said: “The dramatic news that the Coalition Government has decided to implement S34A of the Housing Act 1985, puts residents suddenly in the driving seat.
“By transferring the estates to a mutual resident-controlled association, we will save them from demolition and preserve them to house people in need of affordable rented housing.
“Power and control will pass to the local community and the mixed and diverse population will be protected.”
However H&F Council dispute West Kensington and Gibbs Green TRAs are representative of those living on the estates.
Stephen Greenhalgh, leader of H&F Council, said: “We do not believe that these two TRAs are now representative of residents on the two estates.
“Dozens of tenants and leaseholders have spoken to us and expressed an interest in joining a residents steering group to make sure residents have their views about any future redevelopment plans listened to.”
“That is why we have been working closely with residents, including the former Chairs of both Gibbs Green and West Kensington TRAs, to produce a legally binding set of assurances about the benefits for them should their estates be included in any development.”
But Jonathan Rosenberg, campaign coordinator for the two estates, rubbished suggestions the TRAs were not representative of tenants.
He said: “More than 80 per cent of households signed our petition opposing demolition and demanding self-determination in Autumn 2009.
“When we spoke with around 350 households on the West Ken estate in November last year, as part of our mobilisation for the AGM, we found residents were even more entrenched in their opposition to demolition and determination to take over the estates.”
He also said the former chairs of the TRAs resigned after residents disagreed with their positions on the redevelopment plans.
A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: “We propose to consult on this (implementation of S34 of the Housing Act) shortly.
“Under the last government they put forward proposals which would require the local authorities to work with local tenants.
“Grant Shapps (the housing minster) thinks this is a good principle to give tenants a greater say.
12 January 2011
Capital & Counties has hit a fresh planning hurdle in its proposed 67-acre redevelopment of the Earl’s Court area in west London.
Coalition ministers want to implement a 25-year-old law that would force councils to assist tenants who want to take ownership of their estates – a move that would jeopardise the large residential scheme that makes up around 35% of CapCo’s scheme.A local tenants’ group, which is opposed to CapCo’s plans, notified the council 12 months ago that it planned to gain ownership and management of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green housing estates.These 750 homes, owned by Hammersmith & Fulham Borough Council, are intended to be demolished as part of CapCo’s scheme, which is due to go in for planning in April.Now, it has emerged that the government, which is pursuing its “localist” agenda will enter a three-month consultation in February on forcing local authorities to co-operate with groups that have majority support and want to take control of their estates.West Kensington & Gibbs Green Tenants & Residents Association says it has such support and has entered a race to gain control of the estates before CapCo has consent. This would halt the Earls Court development as it is currently planned.Hammersmith’s Labour MP Andrew Slaughter has also written to Lord Turner, chairman of the Financial Services Authority, demanding that CapCo alert its shareholders of the “material risk” posed to the development by residents looking to save the estates.A spokesman for Capital & Counties said: “Capco supports the thrust of government policy to give communities greater power over their own future. That’s why the Earls Court project has been localism in action from day one.“Whilst we do not yet know what the details of the proposed regulations may be, we are confident that when we publish the masterplan next month, the majority of local people will recognise the benefits it can bring them and will support the development scheme.”When it bought the 23 acre Earl’s Court site in 2007, CapCo had originally planned to limit the redevelopment to the 7m sq ft that it owned.However, in 2008, Conservative council leader Stephen Greenhaugh persuaded Capco to produce a more ambitious single masterplan that encompassed the council blocks and 23 acres of Tranport for London land.
The project on the 77 acres site – the equivalent of 120 football pitches and 1.5 times the size of the King’s Cross development –COULD create 6,000 to 8,000 homes, according to the developers. Along with new offices and hotels, it would provide 20,000 jobs in “tranquil public squares and gardens”, and revive a tired (!!) area of the capital,THEY SAID!!!!!.
Capital & Counties, the UK property group, is in talks with one of the wealthiest families in Asia to provide funding for the multibillion poundredevelopment of the Earls Court sitein west London.Earls Court is one of the largest development schemes in London and potentially the most valuable given its position in a prime area for residential and commercial property.CapCo is in talks about a joint venture with theKwok family, which controls Hong Kong’s largest listed property developer,Sun Hung Kai Properties. The family has been behind some of Hong Kong’s biggest property schemes and is looking to diversify its wealth following the vast inflation in Asian property values.Talks are continuing directly with the family, rather than through the company. As with many Hong Kong companies, investments are made both at a corporate and private level.Those with knowledge of the talks say that the negotiations are at an early stage and there is no certainty of completion.They add that CapCo has been approached by other investment groups about becoming a partner in the site. However, the talks are more advanced with the Kwok family than any other group.The talks have centred on first bringing forward a prime residential development on part of the site occupied by a car park at Seagrave Road, although a sale of up to half of the overall scheme has been discussed.It is expected that a deal on Seagrave Road, which is in the company’s books at £71m ($115m), would be the first part of a wider joint venture.Any sale would also include the costs of development of the site as well as projections about the expected value of prime residential property in the next few years.CapCo owns about 27 acres at Earls Court, including the exhibition centre. The master plan for the entire 77 acre Earls Court Opportunity Area, which is in part owned by Transport for London and Hammersmith and Fulham council, the local authority, will be unveiled in the next few weeks.There are plans for about 8,000 homes, 4m sq ft of offices and 750,000 sq ft of shops across the site, which would amount to several billion pounds of development. CapCo intends to submit a planning application for the Seagrave Road site this year.
Earls Court exhibition centres on wooing public
Next week an exhibition in west London will showcase plans for the 77-acre Earls Court redevelopment. This week they were displayed in Cannes, where the layout for two million feet of commercial space and 7,500 homes, mastered by Sir Terry Farrell for Capital & Counties, met with warm approval.
Some occupants of 750 council flats on part of the site are less keen: their homes will be torn down. There is talk of fighting the wicked developers and invoking a law to wrest control of the Sixties blocks from Hammersmith and Fulham council. CapCo says 70% of the 690 tenants and 160 owners are ready to accept an offer made by the council three weeks ago.
Tenants get a £5,000-£10,000 relocation package and a new place of similar size on the same terms. Owners get the value of their flat plus 10%. That can be taken as cash or invested in a new home, available at a 10% discount.
CapCo's Gary Yardley said the public purse would also benefit: Hammersmith and Fulham will get 750 more homes for tenants and up to £100 million for the land on which the existing estates stand. Transport for London will get up to £100 million for land it owns behind the old exhibition centre, to be torn down after the Olympics.
He added: "This is a good story. There is no need for public subsidy. We are giving a big fat cheque to the public sector." A planning application for the multi-billion-pound scheme will be submitted in June. Sir Terry said the design would recreate "the atmosphere of familiar London thoroughfares like Kensington High Street."
BUT DO WE NEED ANOTHER HIGH STREET FULL OF THE SAME SHOPS YOU CAN FIND ANYWHERE ELSE? AS FOR HOUSING THEY WON’T BE COUNCIL HOMES FOR LIFE ANYMORE; APART FROM THE SMALL PORTION OF ‘AFFORDABLE’ (!) THEY WILL BE A GHETTO FOR OVERSEAS INVESTORS. THE WHOLE VENTURE RUMOURED NOW TO BE SEEKING FUNDING FROM ONE WEALTHY CHINESE FAMILY. MONEY, MONEY, MONEY – THROW ENOUGH AND IT WILL STICK.......
S.O.S. EARLS COURT
Just one more and then.....MAYBE THE LAST TIME !!!
Earls Court Exhibition Centre must stay.................
5th May 2011
Association of Event Organisers (AEO) today urged a re-think following the release of the latest plans by Capital and Counties that will see the iconic Earls Court Exhibition Centre demolished.
Capital and Counties plan to bulldoze the Earls Court complex and turn this and the 26 acres around the site into an extensive residential area. The company plan to build up to 8,000 dwellings.
Austen Hawkins, AEO Chief Executive, says: ‘The plans to destroy London’s major West End exhibition centre will have disastrous consequences on not only the UK exhibition industry but also on the national and local economy’.
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 accounted 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, conferences and business tourists visiting the UK will cost the country billions in lost revenue when we need it most.
‘At a time when many other capital cities around the world are heavily investing in their exhibition space as 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’ says Hawkins.
AEO’s CEO further comments: ‘At peak times exhibition space within Central and West London has reached capacity, it goes without saying that the loss of Earls Court will hugely reduce already stretched capacity and this will have a negative impact on the UK exhibition and events industry.’Douglas Emslie, AEO Chairman, adds: ‘The Olympic Games is the world’s biggest event, everyone recognises its importance and understands the enormous economic value this event will bring. So much so even the Prime Minister of the day was part of the bid team. Yet we are proposing demolishing a major event venue that delivers major events to this country!’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!UK exhibition organisers lead the world in innovation and geo-cloningof exhibitions, yet the industry receives less governmental support than most other countries with sizable economies.
The proposed demolition of this important part of London's infrastructure is madness, London's buffoon of a mayor appears incapable of rejecting any megalomaniac development proposals however contrary they may be to the wider wellbeing of this city.
michael o'connell1 week ago
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