Civic Party proposes alternative to Tamar site

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 May, 2006, 12:00am

The government has come under renewed pressure to reconsider its plans to move its headquarters to Tamar after a political party urged it to redevelop the Murray Building instead.

The Civic Party also accused the government of trying to mislead the public by coming up with 'confusing figures' to give the impression that the Tamar project has been scaled down extensively.

The government last night defended its calculation in a statement, saying the combined gross floor area of the government headquarters and the Legco building was 125,987 square metres and if the figure was divided by the site area of 22,000 square metres it would give a plot ratio of 5.7.

But party legislator Alan Leong Kah-kit said according to a government paper tabled in Legco on Thursday, the floor space for Legco and the government headquarters was 36,230 square metres and 124,680 square metres respectively.

This meant the plot ratio was in fact 7.3.

'People may say the government plan is a fait accompli and it is useless for us to make any new proposals,' Mr Leong said yesterday in proposing the Garden Road site.

'It might be true, but we have to provide an alternative, otherwise people will say we oppose for the sake of opposition.'

The Civic Party's idea mirrors a pre-1998 report that said the government's needs could be adequately met by redeveloping the existing Central Government Offices and using the full potential of the Murray site.

The party said that if the Murray Building was rebuilt, the 6,033 square metre site could provide 84,462 square metres of floor space, similar to a 50-storey building.

Renovating the existing Central Government Offices would provide a further 42,200 square metres of floor space, making a total usable area that matches the 124,680 square metres the government says it requires at Tamar.

Mr Leong said that even if the government insisted on moving the Chief Executive's Office, the Executive Council and the Legislative Council to Tamar, a large part of the site could be used as a civic centre for the public to enjoy the harbour at the waterfront.

Hong Kong Institute of Planners vice-president Pong Yuen-yee welcomed the proposal.

'The Murray Building neighbourhood is already crowded with high-rises, so a 50-storey building won't have an adverse effect.'