Mid-Levels density rule to be reviewed

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 August, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 August, 2004, 12:00am

Implementation of a 32-year-old restriction on the density of buildings in Mid-Levels is to be investigated by the Ombudsman after complaints that it is applied arbitrarily.

Ombudsman Alice Tai Yuen-ying said yesterday the office would investigate the moratorium, which was intended to ease traffic congestion in the Mid-Levels by preventing development from getting too dense.

The watchdog will analyse the rationale for the moratorium, the roles and responsibilities in administering and monitoring its application and the mechanism for reviewing it.

The moratorium was introduced in 1972 after the Transport Department warned that Mid-Levels traffic had reached saturation levels.

'The basic rule is that applications for lease modification involving a greater intensity of development under the existing lease conditions should not be processed,' a spokeswoman for the Housing, Planning and Lands Bureau said.

Ms Tai said the complaint was that in considering development proposals for the Mid-Levels, the Lands Department adopted an arbitrary approach in defining 'intensity of development'.

Central and Western District Councillor Stephen Chan Chit-kwai welcomed the investigation, saying it would lead to greater clarity. Residents and developers would then understand where the government stood on the issue, he said.