Earls Court campaigners hold support drive

Earls Court Under the plans Earls Court will be demolished

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Residents campaigning to save Earls Court from demolition are holding a fundraising day on Saturday to attract more support.

Plans for the 77-acre redevelopment also includes redeveloping two estates, affecting 760 properties.

Chairman of the London Assembly Darren Johnson is holding a question-and-answer session with residents.

Local artist Duggie Fields will be signing Earls Court posters, and tours of the affected areas will be held.

Public inquiry

The scheme involves demolishing two estates, affecting 760 properties and the Earls Court Exhibition Centre.

Campaigners from the Earls Court Area Action Group, who have organised the event, said they wanted to "explore how to preserve our vibrant community from... developers who seek to destroy our prized assets against the wishes of the majority of visitors and local people."

Visitors will be asked to sign a petition at the event which also includes music and stalls with a fundraising evening of music and magic planned for 2 November.

Developers Capital & Counties Properties want to create four "villages" and a "high street" and say the plans will create 7,500 homes and thousands of permanent jobs.

Calls for a public inquiry into the plans were rejected by the government in August, stating the decision should be "determined at local level".

West Kensington Estate Developers say the plans will create 7,500 new homes

In a letter to London Assembly Labour Group planning spokeswoman Nicky Gavron, planning minister Nick Boles said while the proposals were "locally controversial", the application did not warrant the call-in policy in which a planning application would be scrutinised at national level.

But West Kensington & Gibbs Green Community organiser Jonathan Rosenberg said the loss of Earls Court would damage trade and the centre should be listed.

"If this goes ahead it will be a massive economic blow," he said. "Earls Court generates billions of pounds a year for the UK economy and if it goes there is nothing to replace it."

"There are 2,000 people living in 760 properties who will be affected by these plans and have to move, what they're replacing these homes with are very expensive apartments and housing which does not help our community."

Mr Rosenberg said residents, who opposed demolition of the estates four to one, had been fighting the plans for the last four-and-a-half years. They were now seeking legal advice in the hope of halting the development.

The development, straddling the boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham, is expected to take 20 years to complete.

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