Earl's Court redevelopment plan stalled by pub row

Residents made a successful application to get the Prince of Wales pub listed as an asset of community value in a bid to save it from demolition

Local protesters have succeeded in bringing part of the Earl's Court redevelopment plan to a grinding halt - because they are desperate to save two local pubs and a street of workers’ cottages from the bulldozer.

The Prince of Wales and Imperial Arms, on Lillie Road, are part of a block which has been bought up by Capital & Counties Properties Plc (Capco), the firm behind this huge regeneration programme.

Demolition was to have been begun at the start of this year. But the residents have stalled Capco’s plans by making a successful application to get the Prince of Wales pub - where the future King Edward VII is reputed to have once wooed Lillie Langtry – listed as an asset of community value.


An application to demolish all the buildings on the site was refused by Hammersmith and Fulham Council in December pending the outcome of that application. The entire block, which also included a handful of shops, as well as houses on Empress Place, has now been boarded up for several months.

Linda Wade, chair of the Earls Court Area Action Group, said she hoped the developer would now rethink its plans. “Empress Place was a very nice little enclave of Victorian terraced houses, built for people who worked on the canals and for the Metropolitan Railways,” she said.

“The Prince of Wales was a local landmark – one of the different layers of history which make London so unique. It is almost as if that history is being eradicated. Are we just going to become a series of modern blocks? Progress is one thing – eradication is another.”

The site is an addition to Capco’s grand scheme for Earl’s Court, which will see more than 1,300 new homes built over the next few years.

A spokeswoman said that a planning application would be lodged later this year, but that the firm would continue to seek the demolition of the pub and its surrounding buildings. Despite the fact that now the Prince of Wales is officially a local asset, the council will be less inclined to demolish it.

Capco said: “The former Prince of Wales pub sits outside of the consented Earls Court Masterplan which is progressing well and will deliver a vibrant new part of London, including over 7,500 new homes and improved community amenities.

The pub closed last year and will not reopen and we will soon be bringing forward exciting proposals for Empress Place and Lillie Road, to complement the consented Masterplan. The decision by the council in relation to the former pub does not affect our plans.”

The delay – and possible death – of the proposals for Lillie Road and Empress Place is not the only hitch the firm has faced during the redevelopment of Earl’s Court.

Capco’s annual report, published in February, admitted sales of the second phase of homes at Lillie Square, the first development in the area, had ground to a halt in November.

If Hammersmith and Fulham Council does refuse to allow the Prince of Wales to be demolished it would not be the first time public opinion (and a public house) had forced developers back to the drawing board.

In 2009 pressure to save The Light Bar on Shoreditch High Street forced developer Hammerson to withdraw plans to replace it with a 51 storey tower block and instead incorporate the former substation building into its plans.

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