The Earls Court Development Company have a bold and ambitious vision to bring the wonder back to Earls Court
The Earls Court Development Company (ECDC) is an Earl’s Court-based business responsible for driving forward the regeneration of the circa 40 acre former Exhibition Centre site. ECDC was formed in December 2019, and operates on behalf of, Earls Court Partnership Limited, a joint venture between Delancey (on behalf of its client funds and the Dutch pension fund manager APG) and Transport for London (TfL).
Earls Court acquisition
The Earl’s Court site has had a rich and illustrious history. It is London’s largest, cleared Zone 1 development site. It comprises c40 acres of land that formally housed the Earls Court Exhibition Centres and sits within the boroughs of Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham. The site benefits from an existing detailed planning consent, secured a number of years ago.
With the new ownership, ECDC will lead the delivery of a new approach to this critically important London location, which has the potential to be a world leading scheme, showcasing the best in sustainable, community focussed and environmentally enhanced design.
The first decision taken was to hand back the West Kensington and Gibbs Green housing estates in 2019 – originally part of the previous owners’ masterplan – to Hammersmith & Fulham Council. This provided the residents of those estates with the certainty and security that so many of them had fought to achieve for so long.
Since acquiring the site, the team has sought to maximise the social and economic benefits of its activities for all those who live in, work in, and visit Earl’s Court. As well as the focus on the future masterplan for the site, a key component of this is activating the site at an early stage through meanwhile uses which build on the legacy of Earls Court. Parts of the Earls Court site have now become open to the public for the first time in over a century. Activities include: securing planning consent for 51 new homes, creative workspaces, art installations, a Community Hub, immersive theatre, and an active high street.
In the summer of 2021, Delancey, ECDC and Underbelly brought London Wonderground to Earls Court. The event brought footfall of 114,000 people – it was free to enter and allowed the local community and visitors to engage with shows, art installations, public spaces, fairground rides, popup bars and food vendors.
Social value is at the heart of future plans for the site. Over the last two years, a series of events and meanwhile activities have been organised to create positive change and stimulate economic growth. From Underbelly at Earls Court, to the launch of the Earls Court Community Fund, new jobs and opportunities have been created for residents, businesses and organisations across Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea.
Some of the key highlights to date include:
- £3.1M Economic impact on area
- £1.66M estimated social value generated by visitors who experienced the features and events
- £164,000 the total social value created by direct employment at London Wonderground
- 404 jobs – of which 12 jobs are permanent and 392 are temporary
- 15 local people from RBKC and LBHF took part in the Underbelly Training Academy programme supported by ECDC
Future of Earls Court
A brand-new plan is being developed for the area, which doesn’t seek to create a new community, but nurture something already rooted in this place. This will give the existing community the opportunity to shape how the site comes back to life, involving them from start to finish.
The ECDC team is based on site, and is driven by their core values of collaboration, consideration, and celebration of the local community. ECDC have a bold and ambitious vision, underpinned by four priorities: to open up the former Exhibition Site for first time in 150 years – giving back to local communities; to create a showground of world class ingenuity – celebrating its legacy and history; to create a better piece of the city – a blueprint for future generations; to address the climate emergency – an ambition to go beyond net zero.
Consultation plans for the site can be viewed here: www.theearlscourtdevelopmentcompany.com/consultation
Related supported organisations
- National Portrait Gallery hospital programme
- Dad’s House
- Earls Court Film Festival
- Earls Court Youth Club
- Kensington and Chelsea Festival
- Hammersmith and Fulham Giving
- Blossom Young Minds
- The Mosaic Rooms