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Labour council set for tough talks over £8bn Earls Court scheme

The backers behind the new £8billion Earls Court development are set for ‘robust’ talks over changes demanded by the new leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council

Labour leader Stephan Cowan has promised ‘robust negotiations’ with developer CapCo regarding the Terry Farrell-masterplanned redevelopment of the exhibition centre urging the company to ‘come forward with a series of changes’ which include a pledge to increase affordable housing.

The first phase of the Earls Court scheme designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), Terry Farrell Architects and Pilbrow & Partners, had been given planning permission in April this year and includes the demolition of two estates and the Earls Court Exhibition Centre.

But, speaking to AJ’s sister title Construction News, Cowan said he wanted to re-examine the scheme: ‘[CapCo] is a publicly limited company and we respect that. We want to work with them to deliver our manifesto promises and we will be expecting them to be coming forward with a series of changes.

‘It’s at early stages but we are expecting to have robust negotiations.’

Cowan’s comments come after Labour won control of Hammersmith and Fulham council in the recent local elections last May. Labour won 41.9 per cent of the vote, with the conservatives polling 38.1 per cent.

The new council is set to review a number of contracts which were signed under the previous regime. Labour had pledged before the election that some of the schemes which were due to go ahead in the area would be scrapped. However the party’s manifesto failed to mention which developments would be subject to scrutiny.

The Earls Court scheme covers 32 hectares and would see around 7,500 homes built on the former exhibition centre site as well as new offices, hotels, schools and sports and leisure facilities. The land for the project is owned by CapCo, The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and Transport for London.

Stephen Greenhalgh, London’s deputy mayor for policing and crime and Conservative leader for Hammersmith and Fulham between 2006 and 2012, who was involved in the early stages of the Earls Court deal, said it was clear Labour opposed the scheme.

He added: ‘We had a vision for growth along the west London line that correlates with some of our most deprived areas and I think it was an uplifting vision.

‘We definitely feel that it’s right to think about how we can connect this borough with Kensington and Chelsea, bringing thousands of extras of homes [through this] £8bn development, but clearly this is opposed by the new administration.’

Speaking to Construction News ahead of council’s meeting, Capco director of planning and development Anette Simpson told Construction News the proposals for Earls Court had been “very well considered… right from the beginning”.

She said: ‘[This is] not a massive blow to Capco. This is about big comprehensive redevelopment and it’s going to be over a 15 to 20-year period, so this [project] is going to go through a number of changes and administrations, whether that is at the national, regional or local level.

‘The proposals at Earls Court have been very well considered, they’ve been worked through, right from the beginning in partnership with GLA, both boroughs and Transport for London and so a lot of what we’re doing at Earls Court is in the Labour manifesto.’

Previous story (AJ 27.05.14)

Election results place questions over £8bn Earls Court masterplan

The Labour victory in Hammersmith and Fulham has raised questions over the future of Terry Farrell’s £8billion masterplan for Earls Court

Speaking to the BBC after the local elections, Labour Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Stephen Cowan, said that some planned developments in the area would now be scrapped – although he wouldn’t reveal which ones.

The first phase of the Earls Court scheme designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), Terry Farrell Architects and Pilbrow & Partners, had been given planning permission back in April 2014 and includes the demolition of two estates and the Earls Court Exhibition Centre.

Prior to the election Labour councillors had been in discussion with local residents against the demolition of the surrounding estates and had issued a manifesto pledging to take immediate measures to protect homes.

People’s Estates campaigner Jonathan Rosenberg told AJ sister-title Construction News that residents’ objectives ‘could not have been further apart’ from the Tory-led council  and he believed the new Labour council was the ‘best possible thing for its no to demolition, yes to community control campaign.’

Farrell’s wider masterplan includes 7,500 new homes, of which 1,500 will be affordable, and a £452million package of benefits for the local community including £44million earmarked for local transport infrastructure and £36million for local school, health, community and cultural space provision.

A spokesperson for the developer CapCo commented: ‘We look forward to working with the new administration in the period ahead.

‘The Earls Court scheme will create 7,500 homes and 10,000 jobs and brings £450 million in community benefits and improvements to the local area, including new roads, schools, health centres and transport improvements. The scheme received planning consent in November 2013 and we look forward to working with the new administration in the period ahead.’

Detailed design proposals for further phases of the Earls Court Masterplan will be presented for consultation in late 2014.

Previous story (AJ 04.04.14)

Detailed designs of Farrells Earl’s Court masterplan approved

Detailed designs by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), Terry Farrell Architects and Pilbrow & Partners for the first phase of Farrell’s £8billion redevelopment of Earls Court have been given the green light

At a meeting last night the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham backed up The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s earlier decision (made on 31 March) to rubber stamp the designs.

The approval for client developer Capital and Counties (Capco) applies to a 16 acre segment of the wider Farrell masterplan immediately behind, and to the sides, of the existing Earls Court Exhibition Centre.

This initial phase of the mega-scheme will include 1,200 new homes, a new public park called the Lost River Park, and parts of the development’s new High Street which will have retail, dining, leisure, culture and community facilities.

Moving west through the site from the Exhibition Centre, KPF is designing two large, ‘V’-shaped residential blocks immediately behind the centre which in turn back on to Farrell’s own substantial scheme which follows the eastern edge of the Lost River Park.

On the other side of the Lost River Park in the heart of what will become Earls Court Village, KPF has another mass of buildings in amongst which Pilbrow has been assigned the Broadway Terrace Building (pictured).

Pilbrow has also been given a prominent site for a residential building where the gently curving Eardley Crescent to the south of the centre meets the southern edge of the new park.

‘We have the plumbest spot,’ said Pilbrow founder Fred Pilbrow. ‘The building, which we call The Prow will be shaped like a piece of Brie,’ he said.

Farrell’s wider masterplan includes 7,500 new homes, of which 1,500 will be affordable, and a £452million package of benefits for the local community including £44million earmarked for local transport infrastructure and £36million for local school, health, community and cultural space provision.

Detailed design proposals for further phases of the Earls Court Masterplan will be presented for consultation in late 2014.

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