Outline planning application approved for 8bn pound Earls Court regeneration scheme

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Outline planning application approved for £8bn Earls Court regeneration scheme

Thursday September 13, 2012

Above: CGI of the regeneration plans

One of the biggest regeneration projects in London for decades is set to inject billions of pounds worth of private investment into West Kensington and Earls Court.

Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council’s planning applications committee last night (Wednesday, September 12) approved the proposal for outline planning permission, subject to conditions and a legal agreement for the redevelopment of 57 acres of land at West Kensington and Earls Court.

Thousands of new homes and jobs will now be created as part of the £8billion regeneration scheme - which is the biggest new project in the capital since Stratford was transformed by the Olympics.

The planning application, based on Sir Terry Farrell’s masterplan, proposes the redevelopment of the Earls Court Exhibition Centres, Lillie Bridge London Underground Depot and the West Kensington and Gibbs Green housing estates.

Along with the recently approved Seagrave Road planning application and an application submitted to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea for the remainder of the redevelopment proposals, it would create up to 7,583 new homes, of which 760 will be replacement estate homes and 740 will be additional intermediate affordable homes. 

It will also include new shops, offices, leisure facilities, public open space, a new school, new transport links, healthcare centre and community centre. It will create up to 9,500 new permanent jobs and 1,500-2,000 jobs per year in construction, based on an approximate total of 36,000 construction jobs over an estimated development period of 20 years.

H&F Council Leader, Cllr Nicholas Botterill, said: "Britain needs more homes and more jobs and this is just the kind of privately-funded construction, on a brownfield site, that can lift the UK out of recession. Growth is the engine of economic opportunity and this country needs many more visionary projects like this.

"This is a once in a lifetime chance for the residents of West Kensington and Earls Court to benefit from a massive investment in their own area. All our residents can now look forward to a new era of prosperity and opportunity, with new homes and jobs on offer, and the council will be there to help every step of the way."

Benefits include:

  • New replacement homes for the tenants of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates.
  • A new primary school and two new nursery schools.
  • Training and skills programmes to make sure local people take advantage of the thousands of new jobs that will be created in the area.
  • A new health hub with a GP and dentist surgery.
  • A new community centre, with the potential to include a library, job shop, multi-faith space, youth space, children’s centre, training and meeting space, community police space, adult learning and training space and halls for hire.
  • An affordable leisure centre with full fitness facilities.
  • The ‘Lost River Park’, a 2 hectare public green open space, along with 3 publicly accessible garden squares
  • A new High Street with shops and restaurants.
  • A massive investment in improving local transport infrastructure. West Kensington tube station will get a brand new entrance and a lift will be built at West Brompton Overground station. Pavements, pedestrian crossings and streets including North End Road will be upgraded and new streets will cross the site from north to south and from east to west.
  • New bike and car hire schemes and cycle routes.

Gary Yardley, Investment Director at EC Properties, said: “The decision to approve outline planning permission offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform Earls Court and West Kensington. Our investment will create thousands of new homes and new jobs in the area. We will also provide new facilities for the community including a new school, new health facilities, a new leisure centre, a new High Street and the new Lost River Park. By building upon the area’s rich character and identity, we will create a remarkable new district which benefits London and the local community alike.”

Earlier this month, H&F Council’s Cabinet agreed to enter into a Conditional Land Sale Agreement (CLSA) to include the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates in the planned redevelopment.

A detailed planning application to 808 build homes at the nearby Seagrave Road has already been approved by H&F Council. When the CLSA is signed, up to 200 of these homes could be used in the first phase of redevelopment of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green Estates.

Residents living on the estates have created their own steering group, chaired by Maureen Way, and have drawn up their own legally binding contracts with the council should the CLSA be signed.

The council believes that the deal negotiated by residents  is the best deal offered in any regeneration scheme in London and includes brand new homes for tenants and leaseholders, a very generous compensation package and brand new white goods.

The terms of the CLSA state:

  • All homes on the estate would be replaced within the redevelopment area.
  • People would only have to move when their new home is ready to be occupied.
  • People who are currently overcrowded on the estate would be offered a home with more bedrooms. People who are under-occupying would be offered a new home with one additional bedroom above their need.
  • Secure council tenants would remain secure tenants, with rents remaining in line with the rest of the council’s housing stock, and receive £4,700 compensation per household, plus new white goods, carpets and curtains. All reasonable fees will be paid and a dedicated re-housing officer will help every step of the way.
  • Resident leaseholders and freeholders would receive the market value of their home, to be independently assessed, and an extra 10% of that amount in compensation up to a cap of £47,000. They would also be  offered a 10% early purchase discount on the value of a new home, should they wish to buy-back into the redevelopment. They would not be expected to increase their mortgage costs to do this.
  • Leaseholder service charges would be capped for five years and then controlled by the Council after that point.
  • Tenant service charges will remain under the control of the council and only cover the services actually received.

Once the CLSA is signed the council will eventually receive a total of £105million, an estimated £54million of which, after compensation and costs, would be available to be reinvested back in the Borough.

H&F will refer the planning application to the Mayor of London, while the Secretary of State also has the discretion to call it in. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea will also need to approve outline planning permission and will consider it before the end of the year.

E C Properties is a subsidiary of Capital and Counties Properties Plc.

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