Donald Tsang

Pedder Building owner welcomes proposal

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 October, 2007, 12:00am

The owner of a historic building has welcomed moves by Donald Tsang Yam-kuen to encourage heritage protection in the private sector.

But Ian Fok Chun-wan said the government should make preservation of older buildings more feasible by not making them subject to the same stringent standards as newer structures.

Mr Fok, son of late tycoon Henry Fok Ying-tung, owns the eight-storey Pedder Building in Central, built in 1924.

In his address, the chief executive proposed to 'actively explore' ways to provide economic incentives for private owners to preserve historic sites and offer financial support for their maintenance. He acknowledged promoting the protection of privately-owned historic buildings was a complex issue. It involved balancing interests including safeguarding private property rights, the prudent use of public money and meeting public expectations.

Elaborating on the proposal, a source said there would be no ceiling on the maintenance fee. Priority would be given to applicants who could illustrate urgency of work and could promise to open the building to the public.

Mr Fok said such encouragement might save some historic buildings from demolition but he called for more 'feasibility'.

'Take our building for example; we face lots of difficulties to fulfil fire safety requirements. Many other owners may choose to demolish the buildings instead.'