Urban planning

Residents take gripes to Legco

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 July, 2008, 12:00am


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West Mid-Levels residents lodged a complaint to lawmakers yesterday about developments they say are changing and endangering the residential area.

Thirty residents, and Central and Western District councillor Cheng Lai-king, who claim to represent the interests of about 5,000 West Mid-Levels residents, met legislators through the Redress System, under which the public can lodge complaints against government actions.

They presented a list of 18 concerns, focusing on the height and density of developments, and the way they affect traffic and the environment in the area. Many concerns straddled two or three departments - planning, buildings and transport.

'I think the people have been taken advantage of by the developers,' said Jason Yee, a resident for 10 years at Robinson Place and Goldwin Heights, who works at the International Finance Centre in Central.

'I used to be able to get to Central in 20 minutes. Now, it takes 40.'

Ms Cheng said the residents were worried that the area was getting more and more densely developed, causing congestion and creating dangerous slopes.

'We need to do a traffic and transportation impact assessment and to have tight limitations on developments, because without tight regulations, then developers can build as much as they like,' she said.

Legislator Yeung Sum agreed: 'I've taken the bus before on Caine Road and the congestion is bad. If I'm going to Legco, I know not to take a car after 8.30am.'

Dr Yeung noted that this was despite the fact that West Mid-Levels was an upmarket area.

'These developers are basically just greedy,' he said.

In particular, residents worried about what has become known as the 'toothpick tower', developed by Swire Group's International Trader on land that combines two plots.

Although according to the Town Planning Board's outline zoning plan the building should be no more than 115 metres tall and have a plot ratio of five times its area, under International Trader's plan, the development will be 168 metres tall and have a plot ratio of nine.

The most recent traffic impact assessment was conducted two or three years ago and the Transport Department would conduct a new one this year, the Development Bureau said.