Urban planning

Bid to save tenement buildings rejected

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 January, 2008, 12:00am

The Planning Department rejected a proposal to keep the tenement buildings in 'Wedding Card Street' yesterday because it failed to include a detailed structural assessment of the buildings.

Because the Urban Renewal Authority is the sole owner of the Wan Chai redevelopment site's private land, the chances that the proposal submitted by the H15 Concern Group will be implemented are doubtful.

The H15 Concern Group - which comprises Lee Tung Street's former business operators and residents - is seeking to retain the 35 tenement buildings and scrap a proposed underground car park. The authority's plan would knock down all but three buildings, which would remain as an acknowledgement of their pre-war architecture.

In a paper submitted to the Town Planning Board, the Planning Department said the group's proposal had failed to submit an assessment to demonstrate the structural adequacy of the tenement buildings.

'In the previous report findings of the URA scheme, structural inadequacies and poor conditions have been identified in the existing buildings along Lee Tung Street,' the Planning Department's reply said.

The department also said an assessment on the potential impact of traffic should be conducted to support the request to scrap the proposed underground car park.

'No information on road improvement works is provided [in the application],' the reply said. 'Further assessments on the pedestrian flow generated by the proposed development and its impact on adjacent roads, the traffic improvement measures and road improvement works required should be provided.'

Town planner Kenneth To Lap-kei, who devised the plan for H15 Concern Group, said conducting the assessments required by different government departments was too costly.

'Each of the assessments can cost several hundred thousand dollars. We don't have that money,' he said.

The Town Planning Board will discuss the matter tomorrow.