Mayor of London Ken Livingstone today announced that he did not have the powers to obstruct redevelopment of Oriental City.
Tenants and supporters of the North London retail and leisure development - dubbed the UK’s ‘real Chinatown’ – had appealed to Livingstone to support them against landlord Development Securities, who won planning permission to develop a retail and residential scheme on the iconic site in November.
In a statement released by the Greater London Authority, Livingstone explained that he did not have the authority to refuse the consent –heralding good news for DevSecs and striking a blow to the efforts of the anti-development camp.
The Mayor said: ‘Oriental City is an excellent example of the contribution made by Chinese and other Asian cultures to life in London. Unfortunately, under my current planning powers I cannot direct refusal for the scheme on these grounds - this would be illegal under existing law. However I recognise the importance this centre holds to the East Asian community and the contribution it makes.’
Livingstone pledged to provide extra support to businesses uprooted by the development.
He added: ‘My staff will continue to work with and support the existing businesses to help minimise any disruption when development takes place. This includes a long-term commitment of support to help businesses relocate, and move back into the area once the new Oriental City is completed. I have secured a £250,000 package to provide this support, as well as temporary community facilities for use by the businesses and users of Oriental City.’