Many may remember Oriental City in Colindale, it 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 sq m 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.
There is no other time better than now for the Chinese diaspora to come together and speak with one voice – tell the developers that we want them to restore the original plan.
I would urge all to sign the online petition here, http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/chinese-centre-at-oriental-city.html