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Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006, 15:15 GMT
Campaign to save 'real Chinatown'
Oriental City
Some 10,000 people visit Oriental City each week
Hundreds of traders have joined a campaign to save London's "real Chinatown" from redevelopment.

Oriental City in Colindale, north-west London, attracts 10,000 people a week to its shops, restaurants, health services and social events.

But new owner Development Securities wants to knock it down and rebuild it to accommodate flats and a superstore.

Traders said 800 jobs were at risk from the proposal, which goes before Brent Council for approval on Tuesday.

Unique identity

The plans would see the traders share the site with a hardware superstore, a primary school, 520 flats, a gym and a GP surgery.

The Oriental City Tenants' Association has been formed to fight the application which would require them to be relocated for about two years.

A spokesman for the association said Oriental City, home to some 40 small businesses, was more than just another shopping centre.

"This is London's real Chinatown, a unique and essential resource for London's Asian and non-Asian communities.

"It's not a tourist destination like Chinatown in the West End. People compare the food court here to the ones you get in Hong Kong.

"After two years away from the site, the fear is traders won't return and this community will be lost," he said.

'Second-class citizens'

"They're telling us to go away for two to three years and then come back," said Yip Kein Leiu of the Save Oriental City Campaign.

"They're treating us like second-class citizens."

Development Securities said it had consulted extensively with the tenants.

"The new oriental retail centre will be a larger store format with more shops and restaurants and the cultural and community spaces will also continue," said a statement.

The tenants' association is planning a march on Brent Town Hall on Tuesday when the planning committee discusses the plans.

In a statement, Brent Council said it recognised the concerns of traders and acknowledged the "value, input and character" of Oriental City's "diverse multi-ethnic culture".

It said the "temporary loss of the existing Oriental City facilities is more than outweighed by... the overall benefits of the new scheme".

Inside Oriental City

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