A VACANT specialist shopping centre can be pulled down to make way for homes, businesses and a new school, councillors agreed.
The derelict former Oriental City site in Edgware Road, Colindale, which closed in June 2008, will be replaced by houses and flats, although none will be affordable, along with a supermarket, a new Far Eastern-themed retail and restaurant complex and a primary school.
Brent Council’s planning committee granted planning permission for Development Securities’ regeneration of the seven-acre site on Wednesday though the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, still has a power of veto.
The scheme is a scaled down version of one previously approved in 2007 but never enacted due to the economic climate.
Matthew Weiner, executive director at Development Securities, said: “We are delighted that Brent Council has backed our plans to transform this long-derelict site into a vibrant new mixed-use scheme.
“Our plans will deliver significant benefits for the local area and bring new investment into the borough, creating over 800 new jobs and enhancing local shopping choice.
“Our original plans to redevelop the site were stalled by the recession.
“Since then, we have adapted our plans to ensure the regeneration is both deliverable and generates major benefits for the local area.
“With Morrisons fully committed to the site in a pre-let of the foodstore, we have the all-important catalyst in place to be able to start the build this year.”
Objections to the plans were received from neighbouring Barnet Council, retailers Tesco and Asda, which has a store adjacent to the site, as well as Chinese community organisations.
Development Securities’ director of projects Laurence Martin said: “We have worked extensively with local residents and key Chinese community stakeholders, including a key representative of the former Oriental City Tenants’ Association, to bring forward the best possible scheme for this important site.
“The new Oriental and Far Eastern retail and restaurant space reflects the most popular parts of the former Oriental City and the overall scheme delivers a range of regeneration benefits.
“Development Securities and the former Oriental City tenants agreed a full and final settlement before the site closed in 2008 and Development Securities fulfilled all elements of the settlement agreement.
“Many of the former tenants have now moved on. Occupiers have not yet been agreed and our priority now is to concentrate on securing full, implementable planning approval for the site, including the new Oriental and Far Eastern retail space, foodcourt, restaurant and specialist oriental grocers.”
Construction could start in September with the supermarket and Oriental and Far Eastern Floorspace mall opening in 2015 followed by the housing, in 2016, and the school.