Piecemeal approach not the way to revamp Central harbourfront

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 July, 2007, 12:00am

The Subcommittee to Review the Planning for the Central Waterfront (including the Tamar Site), is a subcommittee of the panel on planning, lands and works, tasked to review the planning for the Central waterfront.

It has been receiving views from the public and interested parties on the Urban Design Study for the New Central Harbourfront commissioned by the Planning Department in March. There is overwhelming support for the development of a world-class Central harbourfront with heritage buildings preserved. Views have been expressed on a wide spectrum of relevant issues including land use zoning and development parameters, the built form and layout of future buildings and transport infrastructure in the area.

While we are delighted with the enthusiastic public participation, we have been disappointed that the scope of the study has been confined to refining the existing urban design framework and the preparation of planning/design briefs for specific sites. We have also been advised by the administration that unless there are very strong reasons, the study should not result in any major change to the maximum gross floor areas and building heights specified in the relevant outline zoning plans. The Central harbourfront is a very important part of the city.

We consider that the vision of creating a world-class waterfront which is vibrant, attractive, accessible and symbolic of Hong Kong, cannot be realised under the current planning approach.

We think it is necessary to revamp the planning approach for the new Central harbourfront.

Instead of focusing on refining current planning and making piecemeal design briefs, the government should go for a master design for the entire Central harbourfront area.

The government should launch an international competition, inviting design proposals and then draw up a master plan based on the winning design.

There must be public engagement in planning major infrastructure projects.

Lau Wong-fat, chairman, Subcommittee to Review the Planning for the Central Waterfront (including the Tamar Site)