• Thu
  • Aug 21, 2014
  • Updated: 5:20pm
NewsHong Kong

Hotel plan for home on Peak approved

Developer gets nod to turn century-old house into upscale accommodation even as district councillors prepare a motion of objection

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 September, 2013, 11:49am

The Town Planning Board has given the green light for the conversion of a 97-year-old residence on The Peak into a boutique hotel, despite strong opposition from the district council.

The board said the main reasons it approved the project yesterday were that the owner was taking the initiative to protect the historic residence at 27 Lugard Road, and that the developer had proposed ways of compensating for additional traffic on the narrow road, a popular hiking trail.

"It is clear that an owner could tear it down any time despite its proposed grade-two historic status," a board spokesman said. "Under existing policy, the city is relying heavily on owners' initiative to save heritage buildings."

The spokesman said traffic restrictions proposed by the developer would be written into the transport permit to be obtained by the hotel in the future.

"Members believed the future traffic would be more or less the same as the current situation."

The approval went ahead as members of the Central and Western District Council were preparing to move a motion objecting to the project next month. Fourteen councillors made a joint statement against the project last month, with more than 100 signatures collected from the public.

According to land and company documents, the four-storey residence was acquired by developer Crown Empire for HK$384 million in September last year. The company is held by British Virgin Island-registered Ashley Pacific, which also holds the Butterfly Hotel and Serviced Apartment Group.

The group is controlled by director Yau Tang-tit, brother of Chief Executive Office director Edward Yau Tang-wah.

Under the proposal, the house will be converted into a maximum 17 guest rooms, an exhibition space on the ground floor and five car park spaces.

To address concerns about traffic on the 1.8 metre-wide road, the developer proposed using small electric cars and tricycles to carry goods and passengers, with no more than two trips an hour on weekdays and non-public holidays.

On Saturdays, no passenger trips will be made between 11am to 1pm, and 2pm to 4pm. On Sundays, the restricted hours will stretch between 9am to 12pm and 1pm to 6pm. There will be no goods trips from 10am to 6pm on Sundays and public holidays.

District councillor Joseph Chan Ho-lim disagreed that the traffic flow on the road - now used mainly by hikers and residents' vehicles - would be little changed, and criticised the board for favouring the developer. "The updated project details were only made available to the public a day before the meeting," he said.

The Planning Department said it had done its best to make public the paper and additional documents submitted by the developer as early as possible.

The developer is required by the board to submit a conservation-management plan before conversion, with quarterly tree-monitoring reports to the satisfaction of the Planning Department. It should also provide free monthly guided tours and prominently display an information panel for the building.



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This article is now closed to comments

I see nothing wrong with this proposal and have no idea what everyone is complaining about. Just 17 rooms. Other hotels in Hong Kong are hundreds of rooms. Sounds like just rich people living in the Peak saying "not in my back yard". However there are much more intrusive buildings (hotels / houses) which are 100X the size going on in kowloon and NT all the time which impact a lot more people than a buch of hickers out for a Sunday stroll.
Get real people and stop living in your own little world of the rich and lazy.
Anyone who has taken a walk on Lugard Road knows that 99% of the people who enjoy the path are ordinary Hong Kong citizens and visitors, not rich residents of the Peak, and that even one automobile on the path greatly disrupts the quiet enjoyment of a family walk. Turning it into a regular roadway would be a heartless destruction of a very popular venue of outdoor recreation for grassroots Hong Kong people, all in the name of putting (more) money into the pockets of the brother of a senior advisor to our Chief Executive, CY Leung.
The Town Planning Board defers to the greed of developers yet again. The word "Planning" should be replaced with "Pro Developer".
By the way, if these investors get away with this conversion, it will be only a matter of time before the other property owners on Lugard Road do the same thing.
The Government's only priority (by Government, I mean the Town Planning Board, the Planning Department, the Transport Department, the Tourist Board, the Chief Executive's office, and any and every other public body with a say on this issue) should be to PROTECT AND PRESERVE THE PATH that is enjoyed by thousands of ordinary citizens and visitors every week, not the financial interests of a single property investor.
It is very easy now to say everything will be fine but then it will be too late to reverse. Typical.
This is so sad and ridiculous that it is laughable and utterly predictable. Town Planning Board why not grow a spine and say that houses should be houses, heritage buildings are heritage buildings, why should such a grand old building require it to become a commercial venture in order for it to survive?
I have only walked the trail a dozen or so times in 15 years but even I know the importance of this walk AND that the road is little more than a path.
This line from the above article sadly stands out though.
"The group is controlled by director Yau Tang-****, brother of Chief Executive Office director Edward Yau Tang-wah."
Wow shock horror!
John Adams
This is the brother of Edward Yau, the former environmental secretary who will go down in history as the one person who did most damage to HK's environment ( by doing the least possible during his infamous tenure in that position).
So what do we expect from his brother except more abuse of the environment ?
The TPB has become a sick joke.
( Also ironic that the SCMP's rude word filter has replaced Yau Tang T- I -T 's last name with ***, because he and his company really are T- I - Ts par excellence ! )
Time to scrutinise the list of members so brainless as to suggest that changing a one-family residence into a 17-room hotel with up to, what, 34 guests and probably at least a dozen staff would generate "more or less" traffic. If they're the options, I'm going for "more". And what happens during the one-hour lunchtime break on weekends? It will be a constant shuttle to and fro, one would have thought, all the morning pent-up demand being released in a great rush, so that walkers will be almost constantly assailed by the presumably five hotel vehicles. This looks like a croney decision for the Administration in-crowd at the expense of an iconic walk for countless thousands of visitors and locals.


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