Mayor Ken Livingstone has scrapped his plans for a central London convention centre blaming the government’s u-turn on bed tax.
Livingstone said at his weekly press conference this morning that plans for a 5,000 seat convention centre around the Tottenham Court Road area ‘are not a runner’ due to the fact that the centre would not have made money.
He said: ‘Convention centres do not make money. The only way it would have been financed would be with a subsidy through the development of a hotel at the site. The bed tax that would have arisen from this would have funded it. Now the government has scrapped bed tax for hotels there is no prospect of a convention centre going ahead.’
Instead of the convention centre Livingstone is calling for the three landlords around the Tottenham Court Road/St Giles area – Legal & General, Derwent London and Targetfollow - to work together and create a ‘world class breathtaking mixed use scheme’ together rather than separately develop schemes.
Livingstone said: ‘If the three landlords come together each will have to make the calculations comparing the comprehensive redevelopment together against the individual redevelopment of each single scheme.’
He added: ‘All three will bring forward acceptable schemes but they will not be breathtaking. We need a world class plan.’
Livingstone would not be drawn on whether he would ask L&G to resubmit plans for its St Giles Circus scheme but said talks with the three landlords ‘have all been positive’.
Livingstone first announced his plans for the convention centre in the area last October as reported in Property Week ( 13-10-06).