London Assembly members have condemned a decision by Mayor Boris Johnson to approve the demolition of the Earls Court Exhibition Centres.
The centres are to be make way for a major new development scheme which City Hall says will create more than 6,700 homes and generate 36,000 construction jobs plus a further 10,000 permanent jobs.
As well as the exhibition centres, the West Kensington and Gibbs Green housing estates will also be demolished as part of the project which has been designed by architects Terry Farrell and Partners.
The Mayor made the final decision on the scheme after it was given the go-ahead by both Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham Councils last year.
In a statement City Hal says the areas’s development will create “a wide range of residential, commercial and retail” space as well as leisure facilities, a new park and public squares.
There will also be “a range of improvements to public transport links, including at Earls Court, West Kensington and West Brompton tube stations.”
According to City Hall, developers will work with the two boroughs “to ensure that residents affected will be properly rehoused in new homes as part of a brand new development.”
Announcing his decision, Mayor Johnson said: “I’m in no doubt that the development proposed for Earls Court and West Kensington will provide a massive boost not just to this part of the capital, but to London’s wider economy as well. “
The Mayor said he was “acutely aware of the concerns that some residents affected” but said he was “reassured by the measures being taken by both councils and the developer to make sure the needs of local people are properly addressed. “
The decision has been criticised by London Assembly members Darren Johnson and Nicky Gavron.
Mr Johnson AM said: “Boris Johnson claims to be a champion of the London economy and making it more attractive to foreign investment. Yet he has backed the demolition of the exhibition centres that are estimated to be worth over a billion pound to London’s real economy, that attract one a half million visitors from across London and the world, thirty thousand exhibitors and hundreds of events each year. This decision will definitely see London lose out to global rivals”
Nicky Gavron AM added: “The Mayor waved through the demolition of a world-renowned exhibition space and the destruction of a close-knit established community at Earls Court.
“The redevelopment of Earls Court will cost thousands of jobs in the exhibitions industry as well as to the local and national economy. Earls Court contributes £1 billion a year and brings 2.5 million visitors and 30,000 exhibitors to West London.”