London ICC approval sees Excel miss out

An International Convention Centre (ICC) for London is feasible, justified, necessary and overdue but it will not form a part of the Excel London complex in the east of the capital.

An International Convention Centre (ICC) for London is feasible, justified, necessary and overdue but it will not form a part of the Excel London complex in the east of the capital. These are the main findings of the independent Commission set up last year by London Mayor Ken Livingstone to research the need for a purpose-built venue capable of hosting major international events of between 3,000 and 5,000 delegates. The Commission’s report, which has received backing from the Board of the London Development Agency, was unveiled on 20 October. It states that building a London ICC would need both private and public funding to the tune of £300m but would boost the UK economy by an estimated £400m a year and create at least 5,500 jobs. Following discussions with international event organisers the preferred location is within the central tourist area between King’s Cross in the north east, Marble Arch in the north west and the South Bank – Lambeth Bridge to Tower Bridge in the south. “We have received clear feedback that a venue outside the central tourist area, while still attracting the same convention business, would not have anything like the attraction of a venue within the central area,” said the Commission chairman Gerry Acher. “An ICC in London’s central tourist district should be able to attract 325,000 delegate-days each year, giving a similar performance to the Palais des Congrès in Paris, which is ten minutes from the Arc de Triomphe.” Excel London chief executive Jamie Buchan remained upbeat and stated: “It’s no surprise that a building close to a strong retail centre was chosen but any ICC development is still a long way off and there’s a lot to play out between now and then. “We continue to attract sizeable events and we’re focused on being the premier event centre for business tourism.” The Commission has identified sites and initial discussions have taken place. One will be secured and the initial stages of financing the deal will now occur.

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