Mid-Levels residents denounce police station tower plan

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 April, 2008, 12:00am

More than 80 Mid-Levels residents took to the streets yesterday to protest against Jockey Club plans for a 160-metre transparent tower over the historic Central Police Station.

The band of protesters set off at 3pm and marched along Caine Road, down the walkway next to the Central to Mid-Levels escalator, along Queen's Road Central and up to the Central Government Offices. There they delivered a petition opposing the plans to Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.

As bemused tourists and shoppers looked on, Central and Western District councillor Jackie Cheung Yick-hung chanted slogans - such as 'Safeguard our heritage!', 'Protect our living standards!' and 'Against light pollution!' - through a megaphone as protesters chanted back.

The petition was signed by chairmen of the owners' groups of 11 large apartment blocks in Mid-Levels, representing about 2,000 residents. It demands the government withdraw plans for the tower - designed to resemble bamboo scaffolding - come up with new proposals and fully consult the groups about them.

It also accuses the Jockey Club of failing to involve residents in the design, not inviting them to the four consultation seminars it held over the radical design and failing to carry out an environmental impact study.

Mr Cheung said: 'The scaffolding complex does not match the old police station at all. It is like trying to build a tower block on top of the Great Wall. The building will reduce the value of residents' properties because they will lose their views.

'It will generate great inflows of tourists and visitors, and will elevate the traffic congestion problem in the area. It's also likely to cause pedestrian congestion on the Mid-Levels escalator.'

Robert Yu Kwok-choi of Licaine Mansion, Caine Road, said: 'It will block my sea view and affect the air circulation.'

Connie Lee May-lan of Caine Road said: 'I would rather the Central Police Station is just left as it is. If we are going to get this 160-metre building it will affect the whole area. We are being kept in the dark, and many people don't know about it.'

The consultation period is due to end on Thursday.