I joined a cross-party group of Assembly Members today to send Boris a letter asking him to defer his decision on the Earls Court redevelopment until the facts are in.
With the Mayor’s decision imminent, and the pressure on him from residents, activists, and politicians like myself mounting to protect the exhibition space and the local community, too many questions remain unanswered.
Transport for London (TfL) is in the middle of a report into relocating the Lillie Bridge Depot, an important facility manufacturing bespoke track components for London Underground, which would be lost in any redevelopment. There also hasn’t been a full assessment of the economic impact of the loss of exhibition space.
Until these issues are resolved, it would be premature for the Mayor to make a decision on the Earls Court redevelopment.
That’s why I sent the letter to the Mayor, asking him to defer his decision pending TfL’s Lillie Bridge Depot report and a full assessment of the economic impact of the loss of exhibition space:
Letter from Darren Johnson AM, Nicky Gavron AM and Stephen Knight AM:
2nd July 2013
Mayor of London
The Queen’s Walk
London SE1 2AA
Dear Mr Johnson
Re: Earls Court Exhibition Centres redevelopment plans (which include Lillie Bridge Rail Depot and West Kensington and Gibbs Green Housing Estate). Ref: PP/11/01937 & 2011/02001/OUT
We are writing to strongly urge you to defer your decision on the Earls Court redevelopment until you have carried out a full independent economic impact assessment on what the loss of the Centres will mean to the local and national economy. The decision should also be deferred until Transport for London (TfL) has finished its assessment of the demolition and relocation of the Lille Bridge Depot, which is due in December 2013.
We believe that the economic case for retaining the Earls Court Exhibition Centres has not been properly considered and in fact understated. This is particularly concerning as these successful and established international Exhibition Centres attracts 1.5 million visitors, 15,000 exhibitors and 300 events each year, are estimated to be worth £1.25 billion to London’s economy and supports around 12,500 London jobs. According to the Association of Event Organisers the Exhibition Centres play a key role in delivering the events economy and their loss would relegate the UK’s position as a world leader in the exhibition and events industry at the very time competitor nations are subsidising and expanding theirs.
There is a very strong case for retaining the Lillie Bridge Depot which employs up to 550 people manufacturing bespoke track components essential to London Underground’s unique requirements. It is imprudent to forge ahead without a proper assessment of what the loss of Lille Bridge would mean to London transport, and before a suitable location has been identified. Until TfL’s feasibility study looking at alternative locations and general impacts has been completed and considered, making a decision could compromise passenger safety and lead to delays to essential London Underground repairs, additional costs and job losses.
For the reasons set out above, it is imperative that you defer your decision.
Darren Johnson AM, London Assembly Green Party Group
Nicky Gavron AM, London Assembly Labour Party Group
Stephen Knight AM, London Assembly Liberal Democrat Group’