Draft masterplan of Earls Court redevelopment unveiled

CGI of a new city square in the Earls Court redevelopment draft masterplan.

A draft masterplan of an ambitious redevelopment at Earls Court has been unveiled.

The Earls Court Development Company (ECDC) is keen to “bring the wonder back” to this long neglected, largely derelict 40-acre site in Zone 1 London and bring up to 15,000 jobs to the area.

The plans include delivering up to 4,500 homes, targeting 35% affordable across all tenures, within a landscape-led development which aims to go beyond net zero and become a climate-positive neighbourhood.

Rob Heasman, CEO of EDCD, said: “Like a London jigsaw missing its final piece, this 40-acre site is perhaps Central London’s most significant redevelopment opportunity. The site has an illustrious past which is a continual source of inspiration for us as we look towards the future.

“We want to create a place which reinstates ‘wonder’ in this incredible part of London. We will help to create a more inclusive and equitable piece of city with homes for all incomes and stages of life, and thousands of jobs from training to start up to scale up. The development will integrate culture and public realm throughout, responding to the number one stated desire from local people: to have green and open spaces across the site. We have an ambition to be a global exemplar of responsible, sustainable development, putting people’s health and wellbeing first.”

The aspiration for the development is to incorporate the first large scale zero carbon energy sharing network in the UK, enabling local people to benefit from cost effective heat networks.

Up to 15,000 jobs will be created with the development becoming a research and development hub for green technology, attracting businesses which have a role in transforming our future by responding to the climate crisis.

The draft masterplan is the result of two years of discussion and engagement with local communities and stakeholders to understand the aspirations and priorities of those who already live and work in the area.

“Being based locally has given us the ability to get to know the communities in which we are based, to understand the experiences of people who live, work and go to school here,” added Hausman.

“We have used that to inform and shape the draft masterplan concepts which we are now presenting.”

To prioritise the streetscape and public open spaces, only 40% of the land has buildings on it. Landscaped piazzas, play space and public gardens at the entrances will connect through a network of pedestrianised streets and spaces to a park at the heart of the site. The central ‘Table’ park will repurpose part of the former Exhibition Centre structure, which closed in 2014 and was demolished the following year by the previous owners. 

Earls Court was once a global showground but it was always a private and closed off space with ticketed entrances. In recent years, it has lain derelict and opening up the site with free access to all is a key priority.

The Earls Court Development Company has already brought attractions to the site including the Underbelly Festival, the Lost Estate immersive theatre and the BBC Earth Experience featuring Seven Worlds One Planet, narrated by Sir David Attenborough.

A new Skills Centre will open on site this spring, offering training opportunities to local people. 

Approximately £2bn a year was lost in contributions to the local economy because of the closure of the Exhibition Centres and ECDC said the plans will bring £6.5bn of private sector investment. Early economic projections include £1.2bn per year Gross Value Added (GVA) to the economy, £37.2m per year spending by workers to the local economy, and £40.5m per year generated in business rates.

The masterplan will evolve over the course of 2023 with a planning application due to be submitted by the end of the year.

The first phase of development, comprising 1,300 homes, the park and vital east-west connections will start in 2025.

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