Mix of old and new the perfect blend for Wedding Card Street

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 November, 2007, 12:00am

The concern group for the development of 'Wedding Card Street' (Lee Tung Street) has put forward another proposal for the project, in its latest attempt to halt the project and to retain around 30 old tenement buildings ('Group revises Wedding Card Street plan', November 9).

The Urban Renewal Authority's approved proposal would demolish most of these tenements and only keep three pre-war buildings.

Why should the 30 tenement buildings be retained? Do they have any historical or heritage value?

In fact most of them are typical of flats in the Wan Chai area. On their own they have no character or heritage value. However, together they made up a street that became famous. This was a unique street reflecting an important part of local culture.

Sometimes a 'renewing by replacing' approach is needed with urban renewal projects, as is often the case in Hong Kong, for example, when it comes to dealing with a run-down area. However, there is more to Lee Tung Street than simply renewing. The Development Bureau should be quick to differentiate between a renewal and a revitalisation project.

Lee Tung Street falls squarely into the latter category and the old buildings should be retained.

The bureau must realise that there are many other justifications to retain a building or group of buildings, apart from looking at their historical and heritage status. Unique local characteristics and cultural reflections should also be considered.

Lee Tung Street can be completely revamped and revitalised with the insertion of new elements and new buildings to balance the old tenement buildings. Possible new buildings could include a museum of wedding cards, or an education centre about the production of wedding cards. These buildings need not be large and could be financed by the concern group or through a collective trust fund.

Such a development would add to the tourist value of the district. A mixture of the old and the new could be a reflection of the unique culture this street represents.

H. C. Bee, Ho Man Tin