Under fire homes plan hits new obstacle

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 May, 2011, 12:00am


A proposed massive low-rise housing development project in Sheung Shui - already under fire from environmentalists - faces another stumbling block as it sits on important archaeological remains.

Ceramic shards from the Song dynasty 1,000 years ago and 600-year-old remains from the Ming and Qing dynasties have been found on the Po Leng archaeological site which occupies the eastern half of the proposed development area in east Ping Kong.

But how significant the site is has yet to be determined in a statutory environmental impact assessment study to be carried out by registered landowner Join Crown Development.

'The construction of the project may cause damage to or loss of buried archaeological remains and deposits and culturally significant features,' the developer said in a project profile for the impact study filed to the Environmental Protection Department.

The public will have two weeks to comment on the profile, before the department's director issues a brief for the impact study. The study report will be released for public inspection and comment.

Environmentalists and birdwatchers have voiced concerns about the proposed development that covers a land area of 20 hectares. They say the site is a vital bird habitat where 152 species have been recorded.

The developer filed an application last June to the Town Planning Board to rezone farmland in Ping Kong from agriculture use to comprehensive development area.

It plans to turn the site into a private estate with 184 three-storey houses with amenities like swimming pools and public facilities. Construction is expected to start in 2012 for completion in 2014. But the application was deferred by the board while it sought more information.