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Last Updated: Monday, 4 December 2006, 14:58 GMT
Wright backs Oriental City fight
Ian Wright
Ian Wright says the area cannot "be thrown away"
Former England international and TV pundit Ian Wright has backed a campaign to save "London's real Chinatown".

The Arsenal legend is a fan of Oriental City in Colindale, north-west London, and is said to eat there regularly.

The centre, which attracts 10,000 people a week to its shops and eateries, is due to be razed and rebuilt with flats and a superstore.

Wright delivered 5,000 letters of protest to London's mayor in a bid to stop the redevelopment.

He led a delegation to meet Ken Livingstone's planning officials at City Hall, central London.

'Disservice to community'

Wright is a friend of campaign chairman Yip Fai Liu and their children attend the same school.

The former professional footballer said he was worried about the loss of a community that has taken years to build up.

It really would be a disgrace if this place was pulled down
Ian Wright

"I have been going to Oriental City for years, I love the food there and the atmosphere," he said.

"I know how hard those guys have worked in building up their businesses and I would hate to see all that wasted.

"It really would be a disgrace if this place was pulled down and the guys who work there had nowhere else to go."

Last month, Brent Council gave permission for the centre to be redeveloped requiring traders to be relocated for about two years.

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

Campaigners say Oriental City is London's real Chinatown, and its true spirit would be lost if the development went ahead.

A spokesperson for Mr Livingstone said he would consider whether to intervene "given the very strong concerns that exist over this application".

Oriental City to be redeveloped
22 Nov 06 |  London

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