Closure

Oriental City. A small-scale specialist shopping mall which is home to several popular shops, restuarants and a fantastic value food court which is like an escape to the far East within the heart of North West London looks like it’s going to be greeted by the bulldozers next year as London’s insatiable appetite for a new B&Q and hundreds of new 1 and 2 bedroom apartments gets fulfilled.

Goodbye noodle soup. Oriental City is going to be demolished.
(To make way for a B&Q and apartment complex.)

I have to admit that the plans submitted by the developer will help regenerate the area to a state that will, on balance, be a lot better than it is now, on several dimensions. And actually, the proposal includes an intention to re-open a slightly smaller version of Oriental City within it, but like all change it will be sad to see some things affected so badly, like some jobs, livelihoods, and last but not least, the fact that Oriental City seems to serve a very important social need for some members of the a community of people that is actually spread quite far and wide. e.g. it’s quite common for people to travel quite far to spend a day at Oriental City, catching up with extended family, friends, relatives etc. It will be sad to see that sort of thing disrupted. The optimistic side of me says that these things never disappear, they simply reconvene and re-form in different ways and in different places. Still …

A detailed report on the Mayor of London’s response to the plan clearly indicates that the Greater London Authority will be supportive of the proposal, but from a very recent comment left by someone in my article about China City Dim Sum from a while back, it would appear that a group of traders/proprieters at Oriental City are worried about some of the unwritten assurances that the developer has about relocating Oriental City traders during the period of the proposed redevelopment. I reproduce that comment here to get a feel for the sentiment. (Click on the “more” below.)

Hi, about the OC redevelopment, we really need support from u all. I work at there at the food court.

Some of you may have read about it in the local papers or heard a report from the BBC lately. As Ealing Comedy has mentioned, the landlord wants to knock down the existing building and redevelop it with a smaller OC, some retail shops, a big B&Q and lots of highrise flats (tallest is planned to be over 15 storeys situated above the B&Q). As if we really need another B&Q with Wickes just round the corner & Homebase further down to Hendon.

The planning committee is meeting in a 2 weeks time to decide whether they approve the plans. If they do, the set time for demolition is September 2007.

The landlord says they will relocate us, but has yet to find a place they can definitely put all of us, and has not been willing to give any tenants any written assurance that they will be relocated to a specific place nor to confirm that they can return after the redevelopment has finished. This will probably take 2-3yrs at least anyways.

We have formed a tenants’ association, many of us have joined. We are currently handing out letters asking anyone to write in to the planning committee with ur name and address, whether long or short on why u might oppose this redevelopment or the situation that all the tenants and staff who work there are in. We need as many as possible before 23rd May 2006 and u can either send them in urself or hand it in to many of the shops there and we will gladly take them. (Although not the Supermarket, nor Dim Sum in the food court; their boss is unwilling to help and says we will all fail anyways)

The address to write to is:

Mr Geoff Hewlett and Ms Jane Jin
Brent Planning Department
Brent House
349-357 High Road
Wembley
Middlesex HA9 6BZ

Date:

Dear Mr Hewlett and Ms Jin,

RE: ORIENTAL CITY, COLINDALE, NW9

I am writing to you to ask you not to demolish the Oriental Centre because…….

Please spread the word even if u don’t want to write in urself. I know customers as far as Kent, Surrey or even Cardiff like to meet up with friends/family here.

I myself would like to work in a better environment as it is currently poorly maintained, yet with sky high rent. However, i am greatly opposed to the sitution we have been put in. Our livelihoods have been put at risk for the interests of a few wealthy business men.

Sorry for the long post, but seeing as many of you like to go there, thought i could try to ask for help from u guys. Thanks to anyone for bothering to read! ^.^

399 Edgware Road

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