Updated proposals for central London’s largest cleared development site have been set out by The Earls Court Development Company (ECDC) following a detailed review of feedback from the engagement following the February launch of the master plan.
Building on the vision ‘to bring the wonder back to Earls Court, ’ the latest proposals demonstrate how the place is set to re-emerge as a destination to discover wonder, a home for creative talent and a showcase for one of the fastest-growing industries in the world – clean and climate tech.
The Earls Court Development Company (ECDC) is an Earls Court-based business responsible for driving the transformation of the 40-acre, former Earls Court Exhibition Centre site on behalf of the Earls Court Partnership Limited – a joint venture between Delancey (on behalf of its client funds), the Dutch pension fund manager, APG and Transport for London (TfL) that was formed in December 2019.
Delivering 4,000 homes across a range of tenures, the development will create an inclusive neighbourhood designed for all stages of life. The homes will be set within a 60 per cent unbuilt landscape, maximising open space and allowing nature to flourish.
Reflecting the magnificent heritage of live events and music, proposals show new venues with diverse cultural spaces, including production and recording studios and fixed and pop-up venues to host performances alongside a hotel. The three largest venues – including a 600-seat (1,000 standing) capacity performance space – will act as cultural anchors, drawing people into the site, whilst outdoor spaces will host creative events and arts.
Earls Court will provide a network of workspaces designed to foster collaboration and innovation, with 2.5 million sq. ft. of workspace through three locations at Warwick Square, Empress Place, and West Kensington, providing a new home to the UK’s clean tech industry and delivering 12,000 new jobs. Sustainability is at the heart of the plans.
With an ambition to go beyond net zero, Earls Court will be home to one of the UK’s largest zero-carbon energy-sharing networks, innovative water management, and over 1,000 new trees and streets that prioritise walking and cycling. These will connect to the three stations edging the site, linking into cycle highways and bus routes, providing connectivity to the local area, central London and beyond, encouraging people to travel sustainably.
The proposals reveal a 20 per cent increase in open space and a 10 per cent reduction in the amount of development (compared to the plans shown in February). There is a decrease in the number of buildings taller than the existing Empress State building (at 31 storeys) from four to just one taller building of 42 storeys. This will stand proudly as a way-finder and destination landmark.
A significant new natural landscaped connection is proposed from West Brompton Station directly into the site. This will be achieved by extending the West London Line deck (subject to agreement with Network Rail). A North-South car-free boulevard will also run 850m through the development via a major new civic square. Integrating water management across the development will create The Cascades, a fun, accessible, engaging terraced landscape with natural water features.
Speaking about the unveiling of the updated proposals, Rob Heasman, CEO of ECDC, commented:
“Today marks one more step in our journey to create something truly incredible here at Earls Court. Forging a new piece of city that is inclusive, climate resilient and brimming with opportunity is a great privilege.
“In 2021, we shared a new vision to bring the wonder back to Earls Court, to ensure our plans for the future create unforgettable experiences, as in the past. Our plans have progressed and benefitted from continued open dialogue with a broad spectrum of community groups and stakeholders, as we bring forward a new piece of city that will have wide reaching benefits for London. Whether you live here, work here, or visit here, this will be a place designed for everyone that brings joy to everyday life.
“There is no other central London site like this; this is our chance to build sustainably and innovatively for the future, ensuring that Earls Court is a place to discover wonder for generations to come.”
The updates to the masterplan proposals have been developed in response to the feedback, discussion and engagement with local communities and stakeholders since February. The masterplan will evolve over the coming months with a planning application due to be submitted by mid-2024.ECDC has launched a new consultation phase in Conversation Corner, Lillie Road, which opens on 15 November. It is seeking feedback on its latest designs, including new images of character areas and plans for the first development phase.
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