Planners reject developer call for park on North Point site

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 September, 2010, 12:00am

A call by developers for much of a prime waterfront site in North Point to be turned into a park has failed to impress town planners.

The Real Estate Developers Association says the site is unsuitable for sale as it is and should be divided into smaller plots with residential land separated from public open space.

But the proposal, put forward at a meeting of the Town Planning Board yesterday, was rejected by the board.

The association was among six groups that presented submissions to the board, which was reviewing the North Point district zoning plan.

It said the government should cut the site's residential space for reasons including residents' objections and a shortage of open space in the area.

It also cited potential management problems of public open space built into private developments, as encountered at Times Square in Causeway Bay.

The vacant 29,265 square metre site is proposed as a 'comprehensive development area' with residential, commercial and community uses and will be put on the government land sale list. It and an adjacent site, planned for hotel use, were where the former North Point Estate stood.

The site permits a plot ratio of 5.26 and a building 80 metres high. The developer is required to provide public open space of 12,700 square metres and a promenade on the site.

'The proposed zoning is wrong and the Town Planning Board should make a sustainable approach and rezone most of the site for a park, government and community uses,' Ian Brownlee, a town planning consultant with the association, said.

'The board should not zone to increase densities in old urban areas and should not create wall buildings along the waterfront.'

Brownlee said the site should be split into smaller ones, with community facilities and private housing on separate sites. Putting them together would repeat the problems in Times Square, where the public had complained of rigid management and discouragement of public activities.

This is not the first time the association has suggested cutting down development in urban areas. Last year, it asked the government to take urban sites off the land sale list to improve the living environment. But analysts noted at the time that any move to end land sales in key areas would benefit developers with land there by reducing supply in that area.

A board spokeswoman said the association's views were not supported because management of the public open space would be taken over by the Leisure and Culture Services Department.

Tall order

The gross floor area of the North Point site is capped at 83,675 square metres and the height of buildings at: 80m