Revised Fo Tan plan faces review

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 July, 2008, 12:00am

Government planners have called for further changes to a planned housing project next to Fo Tan railway station, saying it is still likely to impose a 'wall effect' on the neighbourhood.

This view is expressed in a paper submitted by the Planning Department to the Town Planning Board, which will review an amended master plan for the project on Friday.

The proposal, presented by AGP (Sha Tin) Limited, a member company of SEA Holdings, was rejected by the board last August for unsatisfactory design and layout.

This slightly revised plan reduces the number of flats by two to 2,061, and the domestic storeys of one of the blocks from 43 to 42. The maximum building height, 163 metres, and overall domestic gross floor area remain unchanged.

The department said the new master layout plan, including eight housing blocks of 35 to 42 storeys, did not alleviate the 'substantial visual impact' on the surrounding areas.

In the paper, the chief government architect remarked that the spacing between the proposed towers appeared to be very narrow and the bulk of each tower large.

'It still looks very massive when viewed from the street level,' the paper said.

The department suggested the spacing be widened and the bulk of each tower be reduced, noting that the 'odd shape' of the site, an elongated plot running parallel to the railway station, was not conducive to working out an optimal design.

Pong Yuen-yee, former vice-president of the Hong Kong Institute of Planners, agreed that the site was 'hard to plan'.

'On a long, narrow site, you cannot situate the blocks in a square or triangular shape,' she said.

The project has already encountered opposition.

The MTR Corp, owner of one of the three plots involved, has objected to the 'piecemeal' approach to the development. No agreement has been reached between the developer and the railway company.

Residents of the neighbouring Jubilee Garden and Royal Ascot said the proposed towers would block views and air circulation.