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Last Updated: Friday, 16 February 2007, 10:14 GMT
Oriental City hosts 'last dance'
Oriental City
Oriental City has been dubbed London's "real Chinatown"
Campaigners fighting to save London's "real Chinatown" fear this year's Chinese New Year celebrations may be their last.

The owner of Oriental City in north London, Development Securities, wants to knock it down and rebuild it to accommodate flats and a superstore.

Traders have "pulled the stops out" this year to show their "strength of commitment" to saving the area.

"This is not intended to be a farewell to Oriental City," said trader Fai Liu.

The Colindale centre attracts 10,000 people a week to its shops, restaurants and events.

Strong spirit

The Chinese Ambassador will be among dignitaries attending Saturday's event, billed as the centre's most spectacular to date.

It will feature fireworks, acrobats, Far Eastern dancing and displays including traditional Chinese dragon dances.

We will not give in because it is vital to the well-being of our communities that we succeed in saving Oriental City
Yip Fai Liu, Save Oriental City campaign

The Chinese embassy wrote to the mayor to express its concern over the redevelopment of what it calls London's "second Chinatown", but he is not attending the event.

Yip Fai Liu, of the Save Oriental City campaign, said it was important to demonstrate the community's commitment to London's "real Chinatown".

"This is not intended to be a farewell to Oriental City," he said.

"It is intended to demonstrate the strength of commitment that thousands of people have for this cause.

"We will not give in because it is vital to the well-being of our communities that we succeed in saving Oriental City."

Development Securities wants to rebuild it with 520 flats, a school and a superstore.

Although existing tenants will be allowed to return to the new centre, they face up to three years of displacement while it is built.

The project received planning approval from Brent Council in November.

Building work is due to start within 12 months.

Thousands of people are expected to attend Chinese New Year celebrations in central London on Sunday from 1100 GMT.

The main events marking the start of the Year of the Pig are taking place in Chinatown, Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square.


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