Strong case for Mei Foo residents: academic
A university expert on real estate says Mei Foo Sun Chuen residents have a strong case for a judicial review of a high-rise project they are trying to halt.
Edward Yiu Chung-yim, assistant professor from the University of Hong Kong's department of real estate and construction, said residents had 'enough grounds to seek a judicial review of this unreasonable decision to approve the project'.
Yiu spoke at a news conference in response to a 20-page statement that the Development Bureau released last week justifying its approval of the 20-storey apartment block set to rise just metres from the residents' balconies.
'The bureau has now openly admitted that the high-rise site is not an independent one with separate parameters. It said it had been included in supporting the density of existing blocks at Mei Foo Phase 8,' Yiu said.
The high-rise is to be built on a site in Phase 8 where a gas storage plant used to be. New World Development is believed to be behind the project, but the company has denied involvement.
The bureau acknowledged that the former plant site, carved out as a separate lot in 1976, was originally a component of Phase 8 when the developer submitted its building plan in 1974. Its area was included in calculating the building density of Phase 8's 10 blocks so the site coverage - the proportion of the land covered by the buildings' footprint - did not exceed the legal limit of 38 per cent.
The bureau admitted that the removal of the lot in 1976 had reduced the site area of Phase 8 and affected the original site coverage requirement.
In order to legitimise the new building and keep the site coverage below the limit, the bureau suggested leaving empty a portion of the plant site and a private road, lying outside the construction site and also a former component of Phase 8.
Yim questioned why the road, irrelevant to the development, should be used in the calculations to justify the project.