The Earls Court Development Company (ECDC) unveils a draft masterplan to deliver on its vision ‘to bring the wonder back to Earls Court’. The ambitious redevelopment will see this long neglected, largely derelict 40-acre site in Zone 1 London reinstated as a destination for entertainment, innovation and excitement.
The drafted masterplan follows 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. We have used that to inform and shape the draft masterplan concepts which we are now presenting.”Rob Heasman, CEO, ECDC
40% of the land will have buildings on it, with plans for the mixed-use development to include the delivery of up to 4,500 homes – with around 60% residential with a target of 35% affordable across all tenures, and 40% commercial, culture, community and retail space. The mixed use scheme will deliver a variety of tenures including student accommodation, for sale, rental properties and later living. Homes will be set within a landscape-led development which will prioritise the streetscape and public open spaces.
At the entrances of the development, landscaped piazzas, play space and public gardens will connect through a network of pedestrianised streets and spaces, leading to the central ‘Table’ park at the heart of the site. The park is a unique destination repurposing part of the former Exhibition Centre structure, connecting those who live, work and visit Earls Court.
Earls Court was once a global showground for investment and ingenuity, but was a private and closed off space with ticketed entrances. The Exhibition Centres closed in 2014 and were demolished in 2015 by the previous owners, and has since lain derelict. Opening up the site with free access to all is a key priority.
“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.”Rob Heasman, CEO, ECDC
The scheme will include a new Skills Centre, due to open in spring 2023, which will offer training opportunities to local people and will become a one-stop shop for future opportunities at Earls Court. ECDC’s masterplan will continue to evolve this, establishing Earls Court as a major cultural and employment destination once again, bringing venues, events and pop-up space throughout the development.
The Earls Court development aims to go beyond net zero and become a climate-positive neighbourhood. Aspirations include the first large scale zero carbon energy sharing network in the UK, which will enable local people to benefit from cost effective heat networks.
The development – which will become a research and development hub for green tech – will create up to 15,000 jobs, and aims to attract businesses which have a role in transforming the future by responding to the climate crisis.
The masterplan will continue to evolve during 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.
“We are acting now, bringing excitement and enterprise through our immediate site activations whilst also looking beyond the horizon to what future generations may need and aspire to. Above all, we are focusing on ensuring a masterplan which is deliverable, and which will create a thriving part of the city now and in the long term. We are delighted to share how our plans are coming together. We look forward to continuing our extensive discussions with the community and our stakeholders as the plans progress.”Rob Heasman, CEO, ECDC