After more than two decades at Earls Court Exhibition Centre, PLASA has revealed that its annual London trade show will relocate to ExCeL, situated in the east of the city, in 2013.
The organisation has also confirmed a change of month – from September to October – in a move that will finally address the long-running overlap with IBC.The news emerged as hugely controversial plans to redevelop the Earls Court area entered a decisive phase.
On 3 September, Hammersmith & Fulham Council was due to determine whether houses on the West Kensington & Gibbs Green estates should be included within the scheme. On 12 September, councillors will decide whether to approve the entire redevelopment programme, which includes the proposed demolition of Earls Court Exhibition Centre.
Speaking to Installation sister title PSNEurope in late August, Jonathan Rosenberg – a community organiser and campaigner against the scheme – admitted that he feared the Council would “approve the sale and demolition of the estates. After that, it will be up to the Government to decide whether to grant consent for the disposal of West Kensington & Gibbs Green, or to call in and reject planning permission,” he said.
PLASA CEO Matthew Griffiths confirmed that the inability to guarantee that the exhibition centre “would still be open in five years’ time” was an impetus to look elsewhere – but that the need to accommodate further expansion of the show was a more decisive factor.
“We’ve been with EC&O (Earls Court & Olympia) for 21 years, and it’s been a very fruitful relationship that has helped us to develop the PLASA Show,” he remarked. “Relocating to ExCeL feels like we are ‘leaving home’ and are about to start the next phase of our growth.”
Looking ahead to the 2013 event – which will take place from 6-9 October – Griffiths was particularly effusive about ExCeL’s “excellent” transport links and extensive on-site hospitality options. He also revealed that PLASA was mulling the possibility of co-locating a related event at ExCeL, but emphasised that discussions were at “a very early stage”.
Despite the impending Council decisions, efforts to preserve the estates and exhibition centre were still in full swing at press time. Donations to the residents’ group campaign can be made via http://westkengibbsgreen.wordpress.com/save-earls-court/.www.plasashow.comwww.excel-london.co.uk