Campaigners respond to agreement between TFL and developer Capco
The Earls Court Action Group, battling to stop the controversial Earls Court redevelopment are holding a press conference at the House of Commons today, Friday February 7 following the decision by the Transport for London board along with its Chair, Mayor Boris Johnson, to enter into a joint venture with developers Capco.
The Earls Court Action Group say that Transport for London has ignored calls for further democratic scrutiny - but the campaign will have its say.
On Wednesday February 5, Transport for London and Capital & Counties Properties PLC, or Capco announced that they are set to agree terms for a joint venture to bring forward the first phases of the Earls Court Masterplan, following approval to proceed by TfL's Board.
TfL owns the freehold to the exhibition centres known as Earls Court 1 & 2, and Capco is the current leaseholder of both sites.
The agreement will enable the two organisations to establish a joint entity which will own new 999 year leases over the sites, as well as other land owned by Capco adjacent to the exhibition centres. The joint venture agreement is expected to be finalised and signed shortly and ownership of the new entity will be split 63% to Capco and 37% to TfL.
The joint venture will employ Capco as development manager to enable a comprehensive approach to be taken for the implementation of Sir Terry Farrell's Masterplan for the wider Earls Court and West Kensington Opportunity Area.
The Earls Court Masterplan represents a unique opportunity to regenerate a substantial part of central London, creating 7,500 homes, 12,000 jobs and new health, cultural and community facilities as well as 23 acres of green space including the five acre Lost River Park. It received planning consent from the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham and the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea in November 2013.
Graeme Craig, Director of Commercial Development at TfL, said: "We are delighted to reach the final stages of the deal for the development of Earls Court 1 and 2 with Capco. The realisation of the Masterplan will see the creation of much needed jobs and homes for London. The revenue generated from the development of Earls Court 1 and 2 will be reinvested back into the transport network to improve services for our customers.
"This joint venture reflects our new approach of retaining and investing in our assets, working with leading developers to deliver real long-term value for fare and taxpayers."
Gary Yardley, Investment Director of Capco, said: "We are delighted that Transport for London's Board has approved entering into a joint venture to develop the Earls Court land. Following the land agreement we reached with Hammersmith & Fulham Council last year and the outline planning consent we have in place, the reimagination of Earls Court is now moving forward.
"Working with TfL and Hammersmith and Fulham Council, I believe we can create a remarkable new part of London where Kensington, Chelsea and Fulham meet; delivering thousands of new homes and thousands of new jobs that will benefit London and the local area alike."
Earls Court Action Group however, says the agreement is being made despite widespread opposition from many local residents, the London Assembly opposition parties, the RMT , Unite the Union, local and national business owners, the exhibitions industry and those who wish to preserve and enhance our cultural heritage.
In response to this decision, the Save Earl's Court campaign will hold a press conference in the House of Commons today.
Speaking will be Karim Halwagi, CEO of the Association of Event Organisers; Darren Johnson AM, Chair of the London Assembly; Andrew Slaughter MP, shadow Minister for Justice; Murad Qureshi AM and Linda Wade, Chair of the Earl's Court Area Action Group.