Derelict China Town is disgraceful’

ANGRY former tenants of London s real China Town branded a decision to extend planning permission on the now derelict site as disgraceful. A controversial application to extend planning permission on a development in Edgware Road, Colindale, the for

ANGRY former tenants of London's 'real China Town' branded a decision to extend planning permission on the now derelict site as 'disgraceful.'

A controversial application to extend planning permission on a development in Edgware Road, Colindale, the former home of the UK's largest in door Oriental shopping centre, was approved by Brent Council last week.

The site was home to a thriving Oriental community for many years, but fell into disrepair when traders were ordered to leave the property nearly two years ago after Development Securities bought the site.

Thirty former traders and members of the Far Eastern community protested against the application, carrying placards emblazoned with the slogans 'A community destroyed' and 'give us back our livelihoods.'


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Mr Yip Fai Liu, who ran the China City restaurant in Oriental City and is a former leader of the Oriental City Tenants' Association (OCTA), said: "We feel like we have been treated like second class citizens.

"I lost 60 per cent of my workforce in the move from Oriental City. But it has not just affected businesses; the whole community has been torn apart."

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Peter Tran, another campaigner against the proposal, said: "It is awful. There is no centre to the community any more.

"We have been scattered. The centre was a hub for all Oriental people, elderly and young. Now people have to travel all the way to central London for the services we used to be able to get locally."

The planned �450 million development, dogged by delays, now stands empty. The developers say they are waiting for the economy to pick up before they redevelop the site.

Campaigners objected to the application on the grounds that a temporary community space, promised to the tenants when they were forced to move from the property two years ago, was not provided.

But under the conditions of the original planning permission, granted three years ago, the developers are not obliged to build a new community centre until development begins. Ben Ford, from Development Securities plc, said: "I think approving the planning application was the correct decision as it means the Oriental community will retain the opportunity to have another Oriental City."

A spokesman for Brent Council told the Times they had acted in line with planning guidance.

He said: "Developers have just one extension of this kind and when the formal agreements are signed they will have a further three years to start work on the development or submit a fresh application.

"All those consulted about the original application and all those who commented on the original application were again consulted prior to the recent planning committee decision.

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