Mid-Levels, Pok Fu Lam residents object to developing exclusive areas

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 January, 2013, 3:22am

Mid-Levels and Pok Fu Lam residents are unhappy about the government's plan to lift development restrictions in the exclusive districts, with some saying they may move out if the idea goes ahead.

They express worries that denser housing will affect traffic flow and their quality of life, and that two MTR lines, now under construction, will do little in easing congestion.

The residents were responding yesterday to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's comments in his policy address on Wednesday that the government was actively considering relaxing or lifting 40-year-old moratoriums on development in the districts.

Under the restrictions, the Executive Council's approval is needed for new land sales and enlargement of private buildings to be redeveloped. Substantial projects are under way - the 43-storey Azura is rising at the junction of Castle Road and Seymour Road, with another building taking shape opposite.

The Azura project went ahead after developer Swire Properties won a judicial review of a Town Planning Board decision in 2009. A 40-year resident of Mid-Levels said she felt the area was very crowded already.

Conduit Road resident Winnie Wai, 50, said she did not think the area could handle more traffic even after the MTR's West Island Line opens next year. "It's irrelevant. The stops aren't very close to this area," she said.

History professor Peter Cunich, chairman of the Pok Fu Lam Residents' Alliance, said the idea came as a surprise.

"The government should think seriously about lifting the moratorium for the whole of Pok Fu Lam. They could lift it in some sections," he said.