Councillors and planners at London Borough of Brent
United Kingdom

Oriental City in Colindale was the site of London’s genuine Chinatown; it was a major hub of Far Eastern communities in South East England and was home to a vibrant community life. Since its closure a new development called 399 Edgware Road had been planned for the old site.

A Chinese community centre of 400 sqm was originally planned for part of the redevelopment. This space would have been allocated to a Chinese organisation at free or low rent, in order to deliver services to the community in Brent, Barnet and other parts of North London – the boroughs with the highest concentration of ethnic Chinese in Britain.

Unfortunately, the developers Development Securities Ltd have decided in its latest planning proposals to replace the community centre with a retail shop space of 28 sqm to be rented at a commercial rate to whoever wants to offer services. This decision was arrived at without consultation with the local Chinese community or any community organisations active in the area. This new space is inadequate and unsuitable to the well documented needs of the Chinese community.

We, the undersigned, regret the decision to scrap the section 106 community centre which was part of the original redevelopment plans for 399 Edgware Road.

Whilst we welcome the redevelopment of the old Oriental City site and look forward to the much needed jobs and economic opportunities this will bring to the area, we believe grass root needs have been overlooked. Oriental City was more than a collection of shops and restaurants; it was also a genuine hub of vibrant community life for various Far East communities attracted to the area from far beyond North London.

We are disappointed that the consultation process which informs the planning proposal to drop the section 106 enclosed community space (400 SQM.) in the previously approved planning proposal did not include talking to Chinese community organisations operational in and around the area. We are disappointed that the members of these organisations’ needs, views and wishes who are using services and playing an active part in the community have been ignored as a result.

We respectfully urge Development Securities Ltd to restore the original plan for a built for purpose community centre which will be made available to a local Chinese organisation for free or low rent, so that an important part of the site’s past legacy can be honoured, and its future vibrancy can be guaranteed.

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The Chinese Centre at Oriental City petition to Councillors and planners at London Borough of Brent was written by CMHA and is in the category Health at GoPetition.