Jockey Club opposes height limit for Central Police Station scheme

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 March, 2009, 12:00am

The Jockey Club has formally discarded its controversial plan to build a 150-metre tower at the old Central Police Station site, according to its submission to the Town Planning Board, which the South China Morning Post examined yesterday.

But its submission, one of 207 turned in by concerned groups over the past month, opposed a suggested 77-metre height limit on development at the site. The Town Planning Board will discuss the height limit proposal on April 17.

The club, which has undertaken to preserve the old police station site and transform it into a cultural complex, proposed the tower in 2007 to house an auditorium, a theatre and other facilities. Its submission says this plan is outdated and has been discarded.

The club had begun to develop a revised scheme for the site that would respect the heritage values and views expressed during last year's public consultation, it said.

The 77-metre height restriction was proposed by an alliance of 13 non-governmental organisations including green groups and heritage concern groups.

But the club said such a limit would be premature, because it 'attempts to prejudge a revised conservation scheme that the club has only just begun', and would pre-empt the planning board's due process. The club would submit its revised scheme to the board for approval, it said.

Submissions that favoured a height limit argued it would prevent a new structure from obstructing views or attracting too many visitors, who would overload nearby roads.

Last year the Jockey Club bowed to public pressure and promised to reduce the height and bulk of the new structure, after a six-month public consultation.

Those calling for the height limit say it would respect the 'open character' of the old prison courtyard, in keeping with a suggestion from the Antiquities and Monuments Office.