Housing estate fights rail tunnel

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 June, 2012, 12:00am

Work on the Sha Tin to Central railway line only began last week, but is facing a possible delay after the manager of a luxury Mid-Levels property applied for a judicial review.

Savills Property Management, which manages The Harbourview on Magazine Gap Road, is challenging the routing of the line directly under the estate despite its objections and the lack of an adequate explanation.

If the review proceeds, construction of the HK$80 billion line, which has been under discussion for more than a decade, will be the latest major infrastructure project to be held up by legal action.

Work on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge began this year after an 18-month delay because of an ultimately unsuccessful judicial review.

Savills' application, filed in the High Court yesterday with the Chief Executive-in-Council as respondent, said the government had failed to explain the need to resume the underground stratum beneath the estate for a 700-metre tunnel.

It also failed to give an explanation for rejecting Savills' objections or to provide documents on which that decision was based, the writ said.

In November 2010, the secretary for transport and housing formally proposed the railway scheme, including the tunnel. Savills subsequently lodged an objection, suggesting the route be revised so that it did not run directly under The Harbourview.

The flat owners, concerned about the site's redevelopment potential after the tunnel's construction, raised objections to the use of blasting as the construction method, which they argued 'might affect the geotechnical stability' of the land.

The Executive Council rejected the objections this year.

'The respondent gave no reasons for rejecting the objections, and nor did he state what relevant documents he took into account in deciding to reject the objections,' the writ said.

'The applicant does not know, as the respondent has refused to explain, precisely what documents were before [him] when he reached his decision ... [so] owners are unable to properly evaluate whether that decision was lawful.'

The MTR Corporation said it would study the case before commenting. It said it had sought to minimise the area of strata to be resumed, especially in developed areas. The government would not comment, citing judicial process.



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