The campaign was set up to save Earl’s Court from demolition and overdevelopment following the recent approval by both the Councils of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham for the various Planning Applications submitted by the developer, CapCo.
The group view this massive 77 acre, 20-year project to be out of all proportion with the immediate and surrounding area with potential devastating consequences for pollution, traffic levels, structural damage to existing neighbouring properties as well as harming the local economy of shops, businesses and service industries which operate in the Earl’s Court area as well as the uprooting and forced removal of over 750 residents from their homes in Hammersmith & Fulham. The wisdom of granting planning permission for such a mammoth project, which covers an area likened to that of a small village, without any realistic thought being given to the likely effects on the infrastructure of the existing community of densely populated neighbouring streets, is being called into question.
The neighbourhood of Earl’s Court is a mainly residential ward in the borough of Kensington & Chelsea – a borough of central London which is often quoted as being one of the most densely populated built up area in western Europe. There are approximately 10,000 Earl’s Court residents. Earl’s Court already has dangerous levels of traffic pollution from vehicle emissions and has repeatedly gone over EU levels imposed on capital cities of member states and fines may have to be issued.
The impact on air quality during and on completion of this building project will be severe. The group questions the validity of the Mayor, who is already facing fines by the EU over exceeding traffic emission limits, actively promoting a project which will reduce the impact on the air quality in London. As Mayor, Boris Johnson is responsible for maintaining safe air quality levels so ECAAG question his compromised position as a conflict of interest. Transport for London (TFL) own extensive tracts of land which form part of the territory of the project site thus this would be a second conflict of interest for the Mayor and his capacity to be able to determine these planning applications.
ECAAG have provided an online petition which will be presented to Eric Pickles, M.P., Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, asking the Minister to call-in the planning applications which entail not only the demolition of the Grade two listed 1930s Earls Court Exhibition buildings sited in Kensington & Chelsea but also the demolition of over 750 homes to residents of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green Estates in the adjacent borough of Hammersmith & Fulham.
The impact of this project will also be felt by the UK Exhibitions Industry who consider the Earls Court Exhibition centre as a key venue for their trade – for its central location and modern facilities. Furthermore there will be negative impacts on the local and national economies as the exhibition centre provides much secondary trade for local hotels, businesses and bars and restaurants. The residential units of this project will have an average price of £2.39 million per apartment. This house price will not be for the average Londoner but rather an overseas property investor. The development would overload the capacity of the tube and road system in this area of south-west London in what is already an area with very busy roads with all-day traffic and three tube stations which are heavily used by passengers who stand three deep on platforms as they commute to work.