Historic Central under scrutiny

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 October, 2009, 12:00am

A conservation concern group has welcomed Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's initiatives to preserve historic areas in Central, but says he should go further to protect more places.

In his policy address unveiled last week, Tsang proposed eight projects to improve the quality of life in Central. They include plans to preserve Government Hill - the centre of administration since the earliest colonial times. The projects also suggest withdrawing the former Central Market from the list of sites for sale to developers.

But the Central and Western Concern Group, which keeps an eye on redevelopment in the district, said Tsang's blueprint only covered some of the historic buildings in Central. It urged his government to widen the scale of conservation.

'Graham Street, which is a century-old marketplace, and the area around Man Mo Temple should also be included,' the group's spokeswoman Katty Law Ngar-ling said. Law also said Tsang's proposal would only be of limited power in terms of preserving the district's overall atmosphere because it only focused on individual buildings and did not cover their surroundings.

For example, she said the low-rise buildings in Soho between the Central Police Station and the former police married quarters in Hollywood Road were subject to redevelopment into high-rise buildings, devaluing preservation efforts.

'The old, low-rise buildings are part of the historic setting of Central, and a feature dating back to early Victoria City a century ago. If high-rise, modern, glass-panelled structures are built there, it will spoil the whole atmosphere,' she said.

The group said now was the time to set height limits, in light of Tsang's plan.