London’s business leaders have questioned whether a new convention centre should be built in the West End, the chief executive of a leading lobby group said at MIPIM today.
Jo Valentine, chief executive of London First, a representative body of London's companies, told an audience including London deputy mayor Nicky Gavron that the long-running process behind building the centre could mean ‘blight and dead space.’
She suggested: `Would it be better to build the convention centre near to a mainline station or the Olympics site [to the east of London]? We would welcome your views on this.’
Gavron’s boss, mayor for London Ken Livingstone, is a fan of using a convention centre to rejuvenate the eastern end of Oxford Street, and is believed to favour a site occupied by the Royal Mail at Rathbone Place. There has also been speculation that he wants to assemble a site around Centre Point at the junction of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road.
However, sources said there was also an argument for building the convention centre on spare, government-owned land behind the New British Library at Kings Cross. This would sit well with Valentine’s comments, given that it is not only near a mainline station, but would also be quickly accessed from the Olympics site at Stratford via St Pancras.
Gavron told the audience at the opening of MIPIM’s London Stand that `there has never been a better time to invest in London’, citing its 3.9% economic growth last year.
She also promised further action from the mayor soon on climate change, plus a new London-wide housing strategy.