Car trader set to reopen in Tsuen Wan after permit victory

Automall prepares to get back to business in Tsuen Wan outlet after permit is renewed

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 January, 2013, 3:50am

A car mart forced by the Town Planning Board to close down last year is to reopen after its operator won an appeal on Friday.

The Automall showroom on the top floor of a multi-storey car park in Discovery Park, Tsuen Wan, had stopped operating in September after the board refused to renew its approval for use of the premise.

But the decision was overturned in a board meeting last week, and the showroom is now allowed to continue operations "with conditions".

Automall managing director Henry Au Cheung-yuen welcomed the result of the appeal.

He said he would reopen the showroom upon receiving a confirmation letter, adding that he did not expect the conditions to be harsh as the showroom had operated at the premises without trouble in the past years.

"The dealers have had some hard months," said Au, estimating that each of the showroom's 30 dealers had lost about HK$150,000 to HK$250,000 during the five-month closure.

He said he hoped the government could have better planning for the second-hand car industry so that more places could be used as long-term showrooms.

Approval for use of the Tsuen Wan site has to be renewed every three years.

The South China Morning Post had on Monday reported on Au's letter to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, urging his government to pay more attention to the second-hand car industry.

He said demand for such cars was high, but the number of legitimate bays could fall from 1,900 in August last year to just 900 by March, as pre-owned car traders faced similar problems.

In the Town Planning Board's original decision rejecting an application by Automall for use of the Discovery Park premises, it had said the availability of commercial parking spaces could be compromised if the site continued to be used as a showroom for cars. Residents have also raised concerns about security on the estate.