Johannesburg - Capital & Counties Properties (Capco) has welcomed the decisions made last week by the planning committees of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF) to approve the first detailed proposals for parts of the development of the new Earls Court in London.

Approval was given by the two councils to Capco’s reserved matters applications, which includes the detailed design proposals for Earls Court Village featuring new homes, squares and parks around London’s newest high street.

It follows Capco receiving outline planning permission for the 938 321m2 Earls Court masterplan from the boroughs in November last year and the formal agreement reached last month of a joint venture with Transport for London (TfL) to bring forward the first phases of the Earls Court masterplan.

TfL owns the freehold to the exhibition centres known as Earls Court 1 and 2. Capco, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange and JSE, is one of the two listed independent companies formed from the demerger of Liberty International, which was founded by Donald Gordon. It is the leaseholder of both sites.

The proposals for this part of the masterplan, which now have detailed consent, cover an area of 64 750m2 and provide for 223 000m2 of residential-led, mixed-use space.

This will include more than 1 200 new homes, 13 557m2 of publicly accessible park, which is over half of the planned Lost River Park, and the first phase of the new high street with retail, dining, leisure, culture and community facilities.

Capco’s application for a change of use for the Empress State Building from commercial to residential was also approved last week by LBHF.

The Empress State Building will now be integrated into the Earls Court masterplan, adding 53 884m2 of residential floor space to the overall masterplan area. The new scheme proposes the creation of 340 new homes and improvements to the building’s façade.

Gary Yardley, Capco’s investment director, said the project had real momentum and the approval signalled another major milestone in delivering the vision for Earls Court.

“As well as creating a vibrant new part of London, the plans will act as an enormous boost to the economy, creating thousands of new homes and jobs and signalling an £8 billion (R140bn) investment in the local area,” he said.

The detailed designs are part of architect Sir Terry Farrell’s masterplan for Earls Court. More than £8bn will be invested in the overall project, creating 7 500 new homes, including 1 500 affordable homes, and more than 10 000 jobs.

A £452 million package of benefits for the local community has been agreed that will result in more than £44m invested in transport infrastructure and £36m in school, health, community and cultural space provision. Detailed design proposals for further phases of the Earls Court masterplan will be presented for consultation later this year. - Business Report