Causeway Bay landlord wants 'arbitrary' limits review

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 July, 2011, 12:00am


The Hysan Group, a big landlord in Causeway Bay, has filed a writ accusing the Town Planning Board of making an 'arbitrary and irrational' decision to impose restrictions on two of its buildings when adjacent Times Square has no such limit.

The writ says the board acted unlawfully when it decided to include in the Wan Chai outline zoning plan a height restriction of 130 metres on two of its buildings - the Leighton Centre and Lee Theatre Plaza - while nearby Times Square had no such limit. It was also unhappy that under the draft plan, both buildings would be rezoned from commercial and residential use to purely commercial use. It says the decision was wrong and the board did not give due consideration to Hysan's written arguments for the restrictions to be relaxed.

Hysan is seeking permission to launch a judicial review of the board's decision of April 26. It wants the court to quash the decision and stop the draft plan being put into effect.

According to its application, there was no height restriction on buildings in Wan Chai until the draft outline zoning plan was passed by the board. It called the restriction 'disproportionate interference' in its property rights and said this contravened the fundamental right of private ownership of property as enshrined in the Basic Law.

'It is Hysan's position that the restrictions imposed... are contrary to encouraging good design and urban development and have the effect of stifling Hysan's private initiatives including by restricting future development to the design and form of existing developments,' the writ reads.

It is the second time that Hysan has sought to take the Town Planning Board to court. In March, it also applied for a judicial review of building restrictions imposed on several of its buildings under the draft Causeway Bay outline zoning plan.

It is asking the court to deal with the two applications together.