The Earls Court Exhibition Centre is set to be demolished after London Mayor Boris Johnson approved plans for a 77-acre redevelopment of the area.
Developers want to use the site, which will require two other estates to be demolished, in order to build 6,700 homes. The project, “EC Properties”, is expected to take 20 years to finish.
However, conservation campaigners from Save Earl’s Court West Kensington & Gibbs Green estates have been vocal in their opposition, arguing that the redevelopment would damage trade and the exhibition centre should be classed as a listed building.
The Mayor said: “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.
“I am acutely aware of the concerns that some residents affected by the project have but I’m reassured by the measures being taken by both councils and the developer to make sure the needs of local people are properly addressed. Having weighed up all of the considerations I’m of the firm view that this is a project that will deliver huge benefits to the area and beyond for years to come.”
However, London Assembly chair and Green party member Darren Johnson said the move would risk turning the area into a “playground for the super-rich”.
“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 pounds to London’s real economy, that attract one a half million visitors.
“By backing this proposal, Boris Johnson is condemning this part of London into [being]a playground for the super rich with mostly extortionately priced homes that will not help the vast majority of ordinary people.”