Delancey appoint new Earls Court masterplanners

The Earls Court Development Company has appointed Hawkins\Brown and Studio Egret West as the principal masterplan architects for the Earls Court development site.

The developer says they aim to create an environment that is reintegrated with its surroundings for the first time in 100 years and in doing so embraces the hopes and aspirations for the local community and the area.

Hawkins\Brown and Studio Egret West’s involvement represents a new milestone for the site, the majority interest of which was acquired by Delancey on behalf of its client fund and the Dutch pension fund manager, APG in Dec 2019 from Capital & Counties.

Following the handing back of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates to London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, the estates will not be included in the masterplan. They had been the subject of a conditional land sale agreement between Capco and a previous administration at the council.  Delancey say there is a clear opportunity for a fresh approach at Earls Court with the site ready for development.

The brief provided to architects called for a significantly more mixed-use environment than previous plans, so that more commercial space is simultaneously delivered alongside a revised housing plan, and a design and spatial approach based on collaboration and consultation with key stakeholders and the local community. The appointment follows a six-month international competition.

In the six months since the acquisition, The Earls Court Development Company say they have been meeting and listening to the local community, including virtual meetings during the coronavirus lockdown, to harness the energy, ideas and commitment of all, to start forming an informed ‘vision’ for the masterplan. The Earls Court Development Company has also been mobilising a wider project team to support the project across a range of disciplines, and further appointments of industry leading partners will be made imminently, they say.

The Earls Court Development Company is based at Earls Court and is responsible for driving the development forward on behalf of the Earls Court Partnership Limited, the joint venture between Delancey’s investors and Transport for London. This site is London’s largest Zone 1 development opportunity, located close to three London Underground stations with direct connections to the City, West End and Heathrow Airport, and has the potential to deliver a world-class mixed used development in this vibrant part of Central London.

The Earls Court Development Company and project team will now work on developing the masterplan, with initial details emerging in the coming months.

Jamie Ritblat, on behalf of The Earls Court Development Company, said: “We are delighted to be working with the London practices of Hawkins\Brown and Studio Egret West on the emerging plans for Earls Court, an iconic and globally recognised part of London’s landscape. We believe we understand how important it is that our masterplan recognises the past and celebrates the future of Earls Court and of London. As the current custodians of the project, we and the masterplan architects place engagement with the local community and wider stakeholders at the heart of our approach to design and development and alongside Hawkins\Brown and Studio Egret West we will be consulting every step of the way as the plans develop.”

Graeme Craig, Director of Commercial Development at Transport for London, said: “It is great news that Hawkins\Brown and Studio Egret West have been appointed as masterplan architects at Earls Court. This is a unique opportunity, and we are all excited at being able to work with local people to create a vibrant, active and sustainable community in London, including the affordable homes and workspace that the capital so desperately needs.”

Roger Hawkins and David West on behalf of Hawkins\Brown and Studio Egret West, said: “We are honoured to be appointed to draw up a vision for the future of Earls Court. Hawkins\Brown and Studio Egret West have enjoyed a long-term, collaborative relationship that has resulted in impactful projects such as the ongoing regeneration of Park Hill in Sheffield, the unlocking of East Croydon interchange and more recently, the evolution of Smithfield Market and wider public realm. We believe that our common values, complimentary skills, passion for place making, people-first and landscape led approach will bring forth an inclusive and successful transformation of this globally recognised part of West London.”

Stephen Cowan, Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, said: “The Earls Court scheme has huge potential as it’s probably the most exciting site in the UK and can become an important attribute to our economic strategy which aims to make Hammersmith & Fulham a global hotspot in the new world economy of STEM industries and digital media. Delancey’s approach has been right at every turn and we look forward to continuing our strong relationship with them and working with Hawkins\Brown and Studio Egret West.”

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