Thursday, March 15, 2007

Er.. it's not up to you, Ken?

In a statement made today, Mayor Ken Livingstone said that it was not within his powers to refuse permission of the controversial re-development of Oriental City. The Mayor said:

“London’s Chinese community plays a vital part in London’s economic and cultural vitality, as well as providing us with a vital link to China and other Chinese communities throughout the world. 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. Nor, unfortunately, do I yet have positive planning powers that would allow recasting of the site. Therefore I have no options in the matter under the current law.

“However I recognise the importance this centre holds to the East Asian community and the contribution it makes. 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.”

So at least there will be some assistance for the businesses having to manage this tricky relocation.

I still haven't heard anything in the news about where all the businesses are supposed to move to, though.

This remains the big question: Where will Oriental City re-locate to?

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