Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has announced he is unable to direct Brent Council to refuse planning permission for the redevelopment of Oriental City in Colindale, north London.
The site’s owners plan to redevelop it to accommodate flats and a superstore however local traders have objected to the plans.
Announcing his decision the Mayor said “unfortunately, under my current planning powers I cannot direct refusal for the scheme on these grounds – this would be illegal under existing law. Nor, unfortunately, do I yet have positive planning powers that would allow recasting of the site. Therefore I have no options in the matter under the current law.”
“However I recognise the importance this centre holds to the East Asian community and the contribution it makes. My staff will continue to work with and support the existing businesses to help minimise any disruption when development takes place. This includes a long-term commitment of support to help businesses relocate, and move back into the area once the new Oriental City is completed. I have secured a £250,000 package to provide this support, as well as temporary community facilities for use by the businesses and users of Oriental City.”
Mr Livingstone paid tribute to London’s Chinese community which he said “plays a vital part in London’s economic and cultural vitality, as well as providing us with a vital link to China and other Chinese communities throughout the world.”