I’ve written twice this week about the growing pressure over plans to demolish Earls Court as it becomes clear that there is a strong economic case against the proposals. I made the case myself yesterday, and earlier in the week I noted a Financial Times article about the exhibition industry’s concern over the loss of the centres.
The plans are again in the news today with trade press coverage on the economic setback they represent. C&IT notes the “increased pressure to reject proposals to demolish Earls Court exhibition centres” on Mayor Johnson, and Exhibition News also writes about calls for Boris to reject the plans.
With the UK currently accounting for just 5 per cent of Europe’s indoor exhibition space, London has real potential to capture a much larger share of the exhibitions market. The world-renowned Earls Court centres already contribute £1 billion a year to the local economy and bring 2.5 million visitors and 30,000 exhibitors to West London, and an increased share of the market would see those numbers grow. However, developers plan to take us in the opposite direction by knocking down the exhibition space. Local estates would also be torn down.
The controversial £8billion redevelopment was approved by Kensington and Chelsea’s Planning Committee two weeks ago. In his role as London’s planning authority the next step is for the Mayor to decide whether to support or reject these proposals. Community groups and other stakeholders, including myself, have also asked the Secretary of State to call in the plans.