Retail area to double under pier plan

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 June, 2011, 12:00am


The shopping and dining areas of the Tsim Sha Tsui ferry pier will more than double under a plan to redevelop and revitalise the landmark.

The Harbourfront Commission met for the first time yesterday to discuss the project with some members raising concerns about blocking visitors' access to the harbour deck under the new plan.

However, most approve the initial design, including the significant expansion of floor space for shopping and dining. Retail space will increase from 385 to 863 square metres, with an additional 1,472 square metres for dining.

Members questioned whether the new harbour viewing deck would be fully accessible to the public. 'Would it be like the new Central Star Ferry pier where people have to get through a restaurant to reach the viewing deck? Is it for real this time?' commission member Nicholas Brooke asked.

Under the redevelopment plan, an extra floor will be added to the original two-storey building. It will have an outdoor roof level for dining and harbour viewing. The new rooftop open space is expected to be 2,404 square metres. But there is no timetable for its completion.

Star Ferry general manager Johnny Leung Tak-hing promised to follow the proposal, which guaranteed public access to the new rooftop.

However, Ian Brownlee, director of Master Plan, a planning consultancy presenting the proposal for Star Ferry, said public access to the new rooftop would still depend on fire safety and emergency planning by the Fire Services Department.

An advocacy group, Our Bus Terminal, said public access was important but praised the proposal as it preserved the pier's outlook and function.

Commission member Paul Zimmerman was worried that giant advertisements on the walls of the building could obstruct the view of the harbour.

'Can you promise us that there will be no neon signs so that we can always see the beautiful building?' Zimmerman asked.

Leung promised there would not be more advertisements than were currently used.

The redevelopment plan aims to restore the pier, which was built in 1958, without changing its original architectural design.

Meanwhile, the commission yesterday approved a proposal to use a ferry service to connect West Kowloon with other key urban areas.