Now is the time to save Earl’s Court!

PROTECT OUR CULTURE, DEFEND OUR ECONOMY, STOP THE DEMOLITION!

From Buffallo Bill to the Ideal Home Show, Earl’s Court has a tremendous history. It’s London’s premier, iconic, showcase for all that life has to offer, from leading-edge technology to popular music. Earl’s Court is the UK’s third largest venue, an outstanding feat of 1930s engineering, adorned with original Art Deco features. It’s a world-class venue for a world-city, and it’s about to stage the volleyball competition for the London 2012 Olympics.

Earl’s Court brings 2.5 million visitors, 30,000 exhibitors, hundreds of events, and over a billion pounds a year to London. It sustains thousands of jobs; it’s an anchor for London’s West End economy; it’s the most dearly-loved creative and business venue, locally, nationally, and globally.

Centrally located and close to Heathrow, Earl’s Court is an essential international marketing platform for thousands of small businesses and world brands. East London’s Excel is not suitable for most of the Earl’s Court shows. Some that transferred there, like the Boat Show, lost visitors; others were forced, by popular demand, to return to Earl’s Court.

Madness at Earl’s Court 2010. Photo Nick Pickles © Anglo Management

The owner of the Earl’s Court leases proposes to demolish the Exhibition Centres and build 7,500 flats in blocks up to 30 storeys high, along with two million square feet of offices. Its refusal to grant tenancies post 2013 will force successful, market-leading exhibitions and events to close, prevent hundreds of businesses from trading, and terminate the incomes of thousands of people.

Why, in the midst of a property-busted recession, should anybody be allowed to destroy a sustainable, profitable, commercial, global brand, which generates thousands of jobs and maintains hundreds of businesses, to develop infertile luxury flats for speculative gain by off-shore interests?

London is already short of exhibition space for national and international events, and the UK is losing revenue and trade to other countries. The demolition of Earl’s Court would contract the industry, deplete foreign visitors, destroy jobs, decimate businesses, and rob us of our heritage. The disruption to commerce would diminish economic output, and deprive the Treasury of billions of pounds of tax revenues.

On the other side of the tracks: West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates are in the upper part of the photo beyond the Empress State and the Lillie Bridge Rail Depot

For the past three years, the West Kensington & Gibbs Green council estates have held the line against the £8 billion Earl’s Court redevelopment. Our homes stand on the original Western Gardens of the Earl’s Court Exhibition Grounds, created in the 1880s to attract the highest, and most fashionable echelons of society.

Because we are a diverse community living on valuable land next to the Exhibition Centres, the Council labelled our neighbourhood not decent and decided our estates should be demolished. There’s nothing wrong with our homes; we’re proud of our close-knit community; we love this area.

Capital & Counties is spending £1 million a month to pursue demolition; it’s given the Council £5 million; and TfL hopes to make £200 million. We’re not intimidated; we won’t be bullied into demolition: we shall not be moved!

The British Military Tournament at Earl’s Court 2010 ©sampsonlloyd@tournamentimages.com

Suddenly, the Leader of the Council, Stephen Greenhalgh, this scheme’s driver and originator, is exiled to be Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime. The venture has lost its motivator, just as this project unravels at the seams, and when Europe teeters on the brink of financial meltdown.

We’ve redoubled our efforts to save our homes, reminding the developer’s associates that they must behave ethically and telling them what the people really think. Now, backed by the legal team that won the Shepherd’s Bush Market Judicial Review, we’ve launched High Court proceedings against the planning policy underpinning the demolition of the Exhibition Centres. We’ve asked the Court to declare it unlawful.

West Kensington resident, Rita Vlahopoulou, ready to share residents’ views with shareholders at CapCo’s AGM on 20 April 2012

If you love Earl’s Court, if it’s part of your life, your memories, and your livelihood, act now! Discuss Earl’s Court with colleagues and friends; organise exhibitions and events; write to Government Ministers, the Mayor, and others. Bring on the music!

Join and communicate via Facebook; follow on Twitter @saveEarlsCourt; learn more about the history.

If you want to talk tactics or offer particular support, please contact Jonathan Rosenberg, Community Organiser: 07961 301 801; jlnr49@gmail.com

 

Prince Charles opens the Ideal Home Show at Earl’s Court, 16 March 2012

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