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Owner aims to bulldoze Earls Court after Olympics

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Owner aims to bulldoze Earls Court after Olympics

Company plans to demolish venue to make way for housing project


Earls Court

Earls Court will be demolished and integrated into a residential area if plans by the new owners go ahead. Photograph: Sarah Lee

Earls Court is one of London's largest and oldest entertainment venues, and it will host volleyball matches at the 2012 London Olympics. But its rich and varied history could come to an end following the games, with new owners planning to demolish the venue to make way for a housing project.

The Earls Court exhibition centre and Olympia, a further multi-purpose venue also in west London, were bought by Capital and Counties – a subsidiary of the FTSE 100-listed property company Liberty International – earlier this month.

The company has revealed plans to bulldoze the Earls Court complex, which covers around 26 acres, and integrate it into a huge residential area that will straddle the two London boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham.

Gary Yardley, chief investment officer at Capital and Counties, said the company was looking to undergo a "comprehensive redevelopment" replacing Earls Court with housing and refurbishing Olympia to take on the exhibition business, but it would need planning permission.

"The main building was built in the 30s. It has its restrictions in terms of what you can use the building for and the flexibility of the building, and in the long term the building would need a major refurbishment and overhaul," he said.

Capital and Counties has a website outlining plans for the Earl's Court area, which states the new development "would mean thousands of new homes and create thousands of jobs for local people".

Hammersmith and Fulham council said there was a need to provide more affordable accommodation in the borough, and the site could help deliver that.

Paul Colston, managing editor of Exhibition News magazine, said the move would reduce the number of world-class exhibition venues in the UK from three to two – the ExCel centre in London's Docklands and the NEC in Birmingham.

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I've been to many shows there and it's just a concrete lump. Very little atmosphere compared to most other 10,000+ seater venues. Don't get me wrong, most of the concerts there have been fantastic (Pink Floyd probably the best I've personally seen).

Many years ago I used to do a job which often involved setting up exhibitions. Many lorries trying to get out of the car park - the separate one in the residential area - was a complete nightmare.

One the flip side, I hope that part of London gets another mucic venue of a similar size - just a bit more modern. ;)

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On the demolition of Earls Court...

Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was Led Zeppelin's finest hour.'

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If it does get demolished, you'll have 'til 2012 to get used to it. Personally, I think it looks dated. It's not a listed building, so it can get renovated/demolished, and whoever owns it can do what they see fit to it. It'll be sad to see it go because of it's history, but if they've plans to better the site, then, I don't mind. Bands don't tend to perform there any more, so it wouldn't be such a loss. It's used primarily for exhibitions now.

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