Henderson Land criticised over wetlands site

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 January, 2011, 12:00am

Henderson Land Development has not submitted a wetland restoration programme to the government for its luxury housing project on an ecologically sensitive site in Yuen Long, although it has started site formation work already.

The company, having obtained approval for developing the 21-hectare site in Wo Shang Wai in 2008, is seeking town planners' permission for amending the building layout.

It wants to increase the number of houses from 267 to 368, and to relocate the clubhouse further from structures related to the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, including a ventilation building and roads.

The Planning Department finds the new layout unacceptable. 'The proposed layout of the residential area with such substantial increases in houses, site coverage and rather regular rows of houses is very congested and monotonous,' the department said in a paper submitted to the Town Planning Board.

The department also said the revised scheme would reduce communal open space and degrade the landscape environment.

It said the developer had yet to submit details of a wetland restoration programme, which was a condition of the development approval. Henderson, when applying for permission three years ago, promised to finance and manage a plan to restore a piece of wetland, 4.74 hectares, adjacent to the housing estate.

'There is no guarantee the applicant [Henderson's subsidiary] would not be dissolved after completion of the residential development and sale of all houses,' the department said, urging the developer to sort out the financing before proceeding with house construction.

Last year, the developer drew concerns that it might partially fill with construction debris some protected fish ponds, zoned as conservation areas, that were located outside its development boundary. After receiving an order from the government to stop the filling, it moved machinery away from the ponds.