Henderson seeks review on wetland area plan

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 January, 2011, 12:00am

Henderson Land is testing the resolve of the government's planning advisers again, seeking a review of its decision not to allow the developer more time to start work on its 14-year-old housing project on the Nam Sang Wai wetland.

The application was received by the Town Planning Board yesterday. Planning laws require a review, conducted by board members, to be scheduled within three months.

The application flies in the face of ferocious opposition from environmentalists to Henderson's plan for luxury houses and a golf course.

The developer has not ruled out going to the courts it if does not get its way.

'The law allows us to seek a review and go to the board personally to present our case to the members,' a spokeswoman for the developer said. 'We hope to finish all these processes before we can work out proposals that can make everyone happy.'

Opponents who have been calling on Henderson to drop the project to improve its image said they were extremely disappointed with the latest move and would organise a public rally in Central on January 23.

'Henderson Land should know well what the public thinks. It is wrong for them to go ahead with the review and it shows how reluctant they are to become a socially responsible company,' said Kwong Chun-yu, a Yuen Long district councillor and rally organiser.

The board last month rejected Henderson's application to extend the development deadline for the project that comprise more than 2,500 flats, a 10-hectare golf course and a wetland protection area.

In making its decision, the board said Henderson had had ample time to comply with 29 conditions covering such items as traffic and environmental issues that were set out when the development project was first approved in 1992.

But by the time the final development deadline - which has already been extended three times - expired on December 18 most of these conditions had not been met to the satisfaction of government departments.

The board indicated that the developer should file a new planning application that met present-day public expectations and planning.

As well as the three deadline extensions since 2001, Henderson won a reprieve for the project in 1994 when the Town Planning Appeal Board overturned a Town Planning Board decision to reject the project as then proposed.

The appeal ruling was then challenged by the Town Planning Board and eventually the Privy Council in Britain upheld the ruling in 1996.