Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Parties unite against West Ken demolition

Bozza legs it
Following Boris Johnson's cornering by a gaggle of angry residents last week, he has now been urged to delay the demolition of the West Ken and Gibbs Green Estate by leaders of the London Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat parties.

They have submitted an open letter ahead of the Mayor's decision today, which reads as follows:

Dear Mr Johnson

Re: Earls Court Exhibition Centres redevelopment plans (which include Lillie Bridge Rail Depot and West Kensington and Gibbs Green Housing Estate). Ref: PP/11/01937 & 2011/02001/OUT

We are writing to strongly urge you to defer your decision on the Earls Court redevelopment until you have carried out a full independent economic impact assessment on what the loss of the Centres will mean to the local and national economy. The decision should also be deferred until Transport for London (TfL) has finished its assessment of the demolition and relocation of the Lille Bridge Depot, which is due in December 2013.

We believe that the economic case for retaining the Earls Court Exhibition Centres has not been properly considered and in fact understated. This is particularly concerning as these successful and established international Exhibition Centres attracts 1.5 million visitors, 15,000 exhibitors and 300 events each year, are estimated to be worth £1.25 billion to London’s economy and supports around 12,500 London jobs. According to the Association of Event Organisers the Exhibition Centres play a key role in delivering the events economy and their loss would relegate the UK’s position as a world leader in the exhibition and events industry at the very time competitor nations are subsidising and expanding theirs.

There is a very strong case for retaining the Lillie Bridge Depot which employs up to 550 people manufacturing bespoke track components essential to London Underground’s unique requirements. It is imprudent to forge ahead without a proper assessment of what the loss of Lille Bridge would mean to London transport, and before a suitable location has been identified. Until TfL’s feasibility study looking at alternative locations and general impacts has been completed and considered, making a decision could compromise passenger safety and lead to delays to essential London Underground repairs, additional costs and job losses.

For the reasons set out above, it is imperative that you defer your decision.

Yours sincerely

Darren Johnson AM, London Assembly Green Party Group
Nicky Gavron AM, London Assembly Labour Party Group
Stephen Knight AM, London Assembly Liberal Democrat Group

Boris Johnson will, of course, ignore this letter as he has the residents themselves. So we're set for yet another costly showdown in the High Court. 

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