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  • Sep 18, 2014
  • Updated: 8:51am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 January, 2013, 5:53am

A Mid-Levels idea that's not worth developing

Dear CY,

I am writing as a concerned citizen. But first, let me congratulate you on your maiden policy speech. You read for two hours without a slip and didn't even need to take a single sip of water, and all the while the likes of Long Hair were blowing up balloons and performing other theatrics. This annual marathon has always been an endurance test for chief executives and, previously, colonial governors. You passed with flying colours.

I generally approve the direction you want to take Hong Kong but there is one key proposal which caught my eye - lifting restrictions on property development in Pok Fu Lam and Mid-Levels. I can accept more development in Pok Fu Lam, where I live. It's a pleasant, low-density area but I am willing to do my duty for the greater good so you can build more affordable flats.

But Mid-Levels? All I can say is: HAVE YOU GONE CRAZY?

I used to live there but moved to my current place to get away from all the dust and noise, the traffic jams and the constant danger of trucks speeding down steep slopes and loading and unloading at myriad construction sites there.

It's a rich hunting ground for the big boys like Henderson Land, Swire Properties and Cheung Kong, which have at least eight projects in Mid-Levels West. At least 17 sites have either newly completed projects or projects under construction, or have been partially acquired by developers.

Many of the roads in the neighbourhood are one-way and long ago reached capacity.

If your plan goes ahead, developers will just speed up redeveloping old buildings, disturbing neighbours and creating more "luxury" flats at HK$20,000-plus per sq ft, not housing for the grass roots and families buying their first home. You say 47 of the 420 plots of land in Mid-Levels may be developed if restrictions are lifted. Tell us where they are.

Because the Town Planning Board imposed height restrictions in Mid-Levels in early 2008 to make redevelopment projects less lucrative, developers rushed in 2007 to get approval to build skyscrapers on sites they did not fully own. That partly contributed to today's boom in the area.

Please stop the insanity before it goes any further.

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This article is now closed to comments

johnyuan
It is shocking and depressing to propose to increase the plot ratio for the already congested ML – a reverse in direction of height restriction imposed a decade ago when traffic bottlenecks became intolerable. The planners if to support such idea seem again it is hoping on yet an unprofessional solution in serving the public at large: make the developers happy and build even more in ML. I will challenge the planners to propose a more sensible development concept for Hong Kong mainly to urbanize the South District of Hong Kong Island. Or is it a district that forever to be the backyard for the rich and powerful? Yes, stop the MTR at Sheng Wan going any further to assure forever the masses will not become our neighbors. Let the planners free from bondage from developers and begin their work with some common sense and unbiased professionalism.
pslhk
I fully support A's arguments
The dwindling uniqueness of WML is indispensable for HK's most valuable diversity
Even W Lo-Level, say the area around CY haunt, the quarters of No 7 police station
need vital preservation
Urban junglization will defeat environmental goals
Any attempt of encroachment will incur unbearable righteous opposition
and wreaths of HKU and all the elite schools in the area
rpasea
Another crazy idea is the development of new towns in the NE NT. Infrastructure costs alone will be huge. Instead, start razing the massive areas of old and decrepit buildings in Kowloon and HK Island. There is plenty of land but it is not being efficiently utilized.

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