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Judicial review for Earls Court plans

PLASA might have confirmed its exit from the exhibition centre, but the fight to save the Earls Court area from redevelopment is far from over.

In yet another twist to the protracted saga surrounding the proposed redevelopment of the Earls Court area of west London, a campaign group fighting the plans has won the right to a hearing at the High Court. As was widely expected, Hammersmith & Fulham Council voted to approval the controversial scheme at a meeting held in September. But with several significant obstacles still to be overcome, the future of the plans remains uncertain. Late last month (October), Kensington & Chelsea Council was due to consider whether to approve the demolition of the Earls Court Exhibition Centres. This month (November), decision-making transfers to the London Mayoralty: Boris Johnson himself is required to give approval to applications to demolish both the Exhibition Centres and houses on the West Kensington & Gibbs Green Estates. Representatives of the Estates fighting the plans are already claiming one significant victory, with 11 October bringing the news that His Honour Judge Phillip Sycamore had decided to grant a judicial review. A date for the hearing has yet to be confirmed, but it is unlikely to take place before 2013. “The Council and the developer now have 35 days to submit their further defence to the High Court. This one legal challenge could, on its own, put a stop to the whole scheme,” says campaign coordinator Jonathan Rosenberg, adding that activists are nonetheless in the process of “preparing many more legal challenges”. Whatever the future of the exhibition centre, what’s for sure is that it will no longer be providing a home to the UK’s leading annual entertainment technology show. As discussed in the September issue of PSNEurope, the PLASA Show is to relocate to ExCeL for its next edition, scheduled to take place from 6-9 October 2013.

David Davies