Linda Wade, Chair of ECAAG and campaign supporter Desi were interviewed about the latest developments on the Earls Court Masterplan by London Live TV on the 26th of January, 2018.
A sea-change in political priorities within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) means the Earls Court Masterplan may be undeliverable in its current form.
Responding to recent press reports that the future of the 22-acre site in RBKC, as envisaged under the existing planning permission, is now in grave doubt, Cllr. Linda Wade (Liberal Democrat - Earl’s Court ward) who is Chair of ECAAG asked for an update on the present level of engagement between developer EC Properties Ltd and the Council.
Cllr. Kim Taylor-Smith, Conservative Deputy Leader of RBKC Council, Housing and Regeneration, replying during January’s full Council meeting, said that he had written to the developer’s Chief Executive, “seeking a meeting to consider the site's future".
Taylor-Smith explained that "On the 14th of June the facts on the ground changed in Kensington" and “Politically, I want to make it very clear that I do not believe the continuation of this development under the current terms is right. And I have also written to Cllr. Stephen Cowan [Labour Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council] expressing my concern over this development and I have offered my complete support [to him] to revisit these plans around the entire scheme and I have copied this letter to the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan.”
Cllr. Wade replied that crucial questions remain as to the viability of the site in today’s market.
With RBKC now aligning with Hammersmith and Fulham, jointly resolving to put social housing and genuinely affordable homes at the heart of the Earls Court Masterplan, this leaves the proposed luxury, super-prime redevelopment exposed and EC Properties Ltd’s ambitions vulnerable to change.
ECAAG campaigners see this political volte face as a great opportunity to right blatant wrongs, arguing for a wide range of housing options to be built on the site along with the world’s greenest, multi-purpose venue to ensure a prosperous future for the community and Londoners, rather than a fast buck for off-shore speculators.
Click here tOn Saturday, 28th of October 2017, ECAAG held its second alternative fringe event to the third Earl's Court Film Festival whose chief sponsor is Capital & Counties Properties Plc (Capco).
In the publicity spin for their film festival, Capco hubristically claimed that “As the owner and steward of two of London’s best addresses – Earl’s Court and Covent Garden – Capco recognises that creativity is a key ingredient to the development of a place’s culture and enduring local identity."
Our aim is to help bring people together and communities to life through a committed investment in creativity and the arts, and Capco’s support of the Earl’s Court Film Festival underlines this commitment in Earl’s Court.”
Capco’s “stewardship” and “ownership” of the Earl’s Court area will come as news to local residents who for decades have together made Earl’s Court a globally recognised area of London, a close-knit community that has no need of being appropriated and branded by a developer of luxury apartments that are beyond the reach of most Londoners.
Genuine creativity has no need of corporate sponsorship and Earl’s Court artistic and cultural communities do not need to take self-serving Capco’s handout of convenience to come “to life.”
To this end, ECAAG provided an alternative Capco-free free event.
Long synonymous with the arts and the LGBTQIA community, the rebellious maverick spirit that first put Earl’s Court on the map, is still very much alive and kicking in Earl’s Court and refuses to be snuffed out by Capco’s cynical corporate Masterplan.
City of London guide Clive Bettington led a two hour walk on the literary, dramatic and film history of Earl's Court which included Patrick Hamilton, Dame Ellen Terry, Hattie Jacques, Michael Morpurgo, First World War poets and more!
We were delighted to have artist and Earl’s Court resident Duggie Fields join us on our walk.
We then adjourned to The Pembroke pub in Old Brompton Road for spooky readings inspired by the walk, original poetry and a short campaign film.
Save Earl’s Court campaigners have called on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to build the “world’s greenest venue from the pips up” on the site of the iconic Earls Court Exhibition Centre.
The launch of the Earls Court: Rescue, Recovery, Renaissance Campaign Report by Save Earl’s Court campaigners and the Save Earl’s Court Supporters Club was hosted at City Hall by Caroline Russell, Green Party Assembly Member and Chair of the London Assembly Economy Committee on the 26th June.
Earl’s Court business owners, trade union representatives, artist Duggie Fields, representative from the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates and campaigners were joined by Sian Berry AM (Green Party), Nicky Gavron AM (Labour) and David Kurten AM (UKIP) to discuss the findings of the report and consider next steps. Caroline Pidgeon AM (Lib Dem) sent her apologies and her colleague, Mark Morris, attended on her behalf.
Sian Berry AM said, “A venue as green as Glastonbury in the heart of London would go some way to help bring this blighted area back to life.”
Caroline Russell AM, reflecting on the launch, said, “This year would have been the 80th birthday of the Earls Court Exhibition Centre, and it was wonderful to meet the campaigners who want to see a world-class green venue on the site. London is experiencing blandification through regeneration schemes that sweep away established businesses and damage those that remain. Established businesses and communities should be at the heart of any regeneration scheme. The work by the Earl’s Court campaigners has been phenomenal – as attested by their report and alternative plan showing the importance of exhibition space to the London economy.”
Campaigners were delighted to have positive feedback as well as guidance and offers of further support from the London Assembly Members present for their alternative Earls Court Masterplan.
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The demolition of the two Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre buildings is complete. A super-sized crane has been delivered to the site and is in the process of being assembled prior to the proposed work to remove the 61 portal beams over the railway tracks. This work will require night-time working and precise scheduling of this work is as yet unknown.
However developer Capco are seeking to increase their capacity on their site by incorporating Empress Place, an original Victorian double terraced street by noted architect John Young, not previously within the Earls Court & West Kensington Opportunity Area into their plans.
Please help local residents trying to save Empress Place from demolition by signing and sharing this 38 Degrees petition:
The Earl’s Court Area Action Group (ECAAG) organised the first Earl’s Court Fringe Film Night which was held at The Bolton on the 9th November, 2016. It was an enjoyable and lively evening which was well attended.
ECAAG produced its own standalone fringe event that coincided with the second Earl's Court Film Festival whose chief sponsor was Capco.
In the interest of balance, the aim was to stage an alternative event entirely free of corporate spin and not driven by Capco’s commercial interests, dressed up as caring for the very community its development is set to wreck.
John Rogers, author, director and film-maker showed extracts from his documentary “London Overground”, which was partly filmed in Brompton Cemetery. Artist and long-time Earl’s Court resident Duggie Fields gave permission for his film “I'm So Angry, I Could Cry” to be shown.
Two debut films were screened. “The Streets, My Home” focused on homelessness in Earl’s Court and was directed by Emmanuel Ogidi-olu and produced by David Martin Delgado. Ray Whelan and David Martin’s “The Briefcase” starred local residents and was filmed at the event’s venue, The Bolton.
Messages of solidarity & support for ECAAG’s fringe film night were received and read out on the night.
Sian Berry and Caroline Russell – Green Party London Assembly Members
It is such a shame that both Caroline and I could not be there with you this evening to join in on the Fringe Film Night activities.
This event is once again an example of the residents of Earl’s Court working together to support the community, showcase your creativity (also evident in the People’s Plan) and make a stand against the developers.
I hope I can continue supporting you and attend lots of future events leading to success in preserving and growing your community without demolition.
My very best wishes and keep up the good work!
Nicky Gavron, London Assembly Labour Spokesperson on Planning
I am delighted to be supporting the Earl’s Court Area Action Group Fringe Film Night. I am really sorry I cannot be with you for what will be a very enjoyable evening. Along with many of you, I have done everything I can to expose the deplorable destruction of this very vibrant part of London.
It beggars believe that 3 going concerns, the Earls Court Exhibition Centre, the Lillie Bridge Depot and the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates can be demolished and a whole eco system of local businesses wiped out with them.
I fervently hope that a fair deal can be renegotiated for the residents of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates.
And I will work with other Assembly Members to scrutinise all plans that come forward in Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham.
Caroline Pidgeon, London Assembly Member for the Liberal Democrats
“I would like to thank everyone for attending this evening’s Earl's Court Fringe Film night. Your presence demonstrates the strength of feeling about the way in which Capco has gone about developing the area - squeezing out local shopkeepers, hiking rents and demolishing its history – with no regard for the needs or concerns of local residents.
I want to pay tribute to the role of the Earl’s Court Area Action Group; their tireless and determined work has made sure that London’s most controversial redevelopment has not been forgotten by politicians.
It’s time the Mayor now followed through on his election pledge to review the scheme and sent a clear message to Capco that when it comes to regenerating Earl’s Court, people’s interest will now be put before profit!
Now more than ever, London needs family-sized affordable homes, not luxury flats sitting empty and unused. Earl’s Court in particular also needs the infrastructure required to meet the needs of London’s growing population.
It’s time to say ‘no to demolition and yes to community control!’
The RMT Union’s Piccadilly & District West Branch
The Piccadilly & District West branch of the RMT are proud to have stood with the Earl’s Court Area Action Group and thankful for your help in fighting Capco and saving our members jobs while trying to save your own houses and your friends and neighbours houses and flats too.
The way you fought to save the Exhibition Centre against all the odds, was a proper David versus Goliath fight. Your determination and drive has been awesome - an inspiration to us all.
We hope your night goes well.
In solidarity, Gwyn (Secretary) and Carlos (Chair).
Andy Slaughter MP (Labour, Hammersmith)
I am sorry not to make the film night as I think it is a great idea, both to draw attention to the continuing battle of Earl’s Court and West Kensington and to have a fun evening.
We always knew that the battle against the power of Capco and their political allies would be long
and hard, but the creative and good-humoured way residents and supporters have responded is a credit to them all.
It shows exactly why the community spirit as well as the bricks and mortar are worth fighting for.
Corporate greed and faceless development with built-in redundancy is the modern blight of London - but the Earl’s Court Area Action Group’s message that we, the people who live here, should define our city, can and will be heard.
The Earl’s Court Area Action Group (ECAAG) is organising the first Earl’s Court Fringe Film Night.
ECAAG is producing its own standalone fringe event that will coincide with the second Earl's Court Film Festival whose chief sponsor is Capital & Counties Properties Plc (Capco).
In the interest of balance, ECAAG’s aim is to stage an alternative event that is entirely free of corporate spin.
The core message is that Earl’s Court is, against the will of many residents, in danger of being defined within the narrow self-interests of the developer's Earls Court Masterplan.
When and where
Starts at 7pm on Wednesday, 9th November at The Bolton pub, 326 Earls Court Rd, London SW5 9BQ. Nearest tube is Earl's Court.
Earl's Court Fringe Film Night is free although donations are welcome on the night.
John Rogers, film-maker author and director will be showing extracts from his latest documentary “London Overground” partly filmed on location in Earl’s Court. The film takes place over the course of a year, rather than a single day. It follows Iain Sinclair as he meanders along the railway tracks on foot from his home in Haggerston, visiting 33 stations in 35 mile round trip.
After the screening, John will participate in a Q & A session.
"He is like Prospero crossed with Mr Chips," says Russell Brand.
We will also show debut short films from young directors with close links to Earl's Court who have filmed in the area.
ECAAG’s fringe film night demonstrates the staunch resistance and resilience within the local community to keep the spirit of rebellious creativity burning bright within Earl's Court!
Local government history was made tonight when the first joint Motion by Labour and the Liberal Democrats parties was put to the full Council meeting of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
The motion was moved by Cllr Linda Wade (Liberal Democrat) and seconded by Emma Dent Coad (Labour). There were some amendments proposed by the Conservatives to the Motion which were debated and then the Motion was unanimously agreed.
It essentially acknowledged the inter-dependency of the Earls Court Masterplan site which straddles both the boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea as well as Hammersmith and Fulham.
Should developer Capco move forwards with their stated aim to increase the density on the Masterplan from 7.5k homes to 10k, they will need to put submit a fresh planning application which will be subject to public consultation and scrutiny.
ECAAG brings Londoners together to celebrate a temporary reprieve for threatened Victorian terraced homes & pubs
ECAAG brought Londoners together to celebrate a temporary reprieve for threatened Victorian terraced homes in Empress Place and two pubs due to be demolished by Capital & Counties Properties Plc (Capco) adjacent to the Earls Court Masterplan.
Londoners celebrated a temporary reprieve from demolition for a much loved corner of London with a jolly promenade in Victorian costume. ECAAG invited residents to join "HM Queen Victoria" and the "Prince of Wales" as they visited Empress Place and its much-loved Edwardian pub named in his honour to denounce their impending demolition by Capco.
Linda Wade, Chair of ECAAG attended as did Andrew Slaughter MP for Hammersmith.
"We are losing so much of our built heritage and sense of place in London that appreciating what we still have takes on an added significance", said Linda Wade, Chair of ECAAG.
Residents joined in street theatre and sang music halls songs from the period, some especially adapted for the housing crisis: "Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner, that I live with my mum!"
To raucous cheers from participants and spectators, Capco staff pulled down their marketing suite’s blinds when residents in Victorian fancy dress sang the national anthem outside their Lillie Square showroom opposite Empress Place,
The demolition of Empress Place and two adjacent parades of shops on the Lillie Road by Capco entity Earl's Court Partnership Ltd was due to start on the 11th January, 2016.
Empress Place comprises two rows of attractive Victorian workers’ cottages in Hammersmith and Fulham. On the corner is the Edwardian Prince of Wales public house and a few doors up on the Lillie Road is The Imperial Arms.
Thanks to outraged Hammersmith and Fulham residents’ application to list the Prince of Wales pub as an Asset of Community Value, demolition of this area has had to be temporarily stayed at a time when the UK is losing 29 pubs every week to developers of expensive flats and to the big supermarkets’ local outlets, designed to drive out independent traders.
The demolition of Empress Place and two adjacent parades of shops on the Lillie Road by Capco entity Earl's Court Partnership Ltd was due to start on the 11th January, 2016.
Empress Place is comprised of two rows of attractive Victorian workers’ cottages. On the corner is the Edwardian Prince of Wales public house and a few doors up on the Lillie Road is The Imperial Arms.
Thanks to Hammersmith and Fulham residents, who have put in applications to nominate the Prince of Wales pub as an Asset of Community Value, demolition of this area has been temporarily halted.
Both the West Kensington and Gibbs Green Estates Tenant and Residents Associations have applied as have The Hammersmith Society, The Fulham Estate Residents Association and the Hammersmith Embankment Residents Association.
Our campaign contacted Nicky Gavron AM (Labour Party), Darren Johnson AM (Green Party) and London Mayoral Candidate Caroline Pidgeon AM (Liberal Democrat Party), who have all written to Hammersmith and Fulham Council in support of the residents fighting to save the Prince of Wales pub for the community.
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