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Earls Court developer: 'Large schemes need many hands'

Gary Yardley, Capital and Counties’ investment director on winning outline planning permission for the contentious redevelopment of Earl’s Court

What is the Earl’s Court regeneration?

It proposes the transformation of a 28 hectare site in central west London into a new urban district. Created by Terry Farrell &Partners, the masterplan proposes four new urban villages and a 21st century high street

Are you disappointed it took more than a year to win planning?

Not at all. This is a complex scheme involving a number of landowners and two local boroughs (Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham)

Were you surprised by the negative response from residents set to be rehoused?

This is a significant redevelopment and we can understand why some residents are concerned. We have worked closely with them and with the authorities since 2009 to ensure that we are listening and responding to these concerns. We believe all the residents will be major beneficiaries of this redevelopment, including having brand new homes in the area and receiving new community benefits

What benefits will it bring?

There will be 7,500 new homes, including around 1,500 affordable homes, offices, hotels, work space, education, cultural and community facilities, as well as a new five acre park. We have also committed to significant transport improvements for the area

How did you set about masterplanning such a large area?

We launched an international competition in 2010 and appointed Terry Farrell & Partners. The brief was to give an idea of how issues such as routes through the site and connections with the surrounding area might be resolved, and provide some sense of the grouping and form of urban blocks. Practices working on the masterplan include Allies and Morrison, Chris Dyson Architects, Benoy, KPF, Make, John McAslan + Partners, Patel Taylor Architects, Paul Davis + Partners, and Studio Egret West

Why so many architects?

A scheme this size needs to be the work of many hands, particularly if it is to fit into the fabric of London. This masterplan is the result of collaboration between the 12-strong design panel. However, it is essential we have one central vision, and this is what Terry Farrell’s masterplan provides

What lessons have you learnt?

The importance of community engagement and starting as early as possible. We have been consulting with the community since 2009 and have had around 20 public drop-in sessions since then

Is the government doing enough to help developers?

Public finances are under a huge amount of pressure. Part of what is attractive about this scheme is that it provides much-needed new homes and community benefits through private funding

 

  • Postcript: The developer was also asked ‘How much profit do you expect to make from the redevelopment?’ but no answer was forthcoming.

 

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