Bid to increase development density of West Kowloon Cultural District
Michael Lynch, Chief Executive of West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, says there is no contradiction in the new plan that seeks additional floor area
Fanny W. Y. Fung
Half of the additional floor area being sought for the West Kowloon Cultural District will be used for commercial and residential purposes while the other half will be for art facilities, under the government's proposal to increase the development density of the site.
Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs, Raymond Young Lap-mun, revealed the plan after the government announced that it would seek the Town Planning Board's approval to increase by 10 to 15 per cent the plot ratio of the arts hub, equivalent to a floor area of 70,000 to 100,000 square metres. The aim is to generate more income by selling extra space.
At a meeting of the Legislative Council's Joint Subcommittee to Monitor the Implementation of the West Kowloon Cultural District Project, lawmakers expressed concern over the proposed application for the relaxation of development density of the site. Chan Yuen-han, of the Federation of Trade Unions, demanded that the whole additional area, if approved, should be earmarked for more cultural facilities to meet arts groups' needs.
Young maintained that it had always been the arrangement for the administration and the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority to develop half of the site each, and therefore the proposed additional floor area should not be excluded from this arrangement.
Helena Wong Pik-wan, of the Democratic Party, doubted the reasonableness of the authority’s seeking a new area to build retail, dining and entertainment facilities while eliminating these facilities from the original plan of the Xiqu Centre in the project.
Chan Man-wai, executive director of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, replied that the reason for scrapping the proposed catering facilities in the atrium of the Xiqu Centre was due to unsuitability of the location.
The authority's chief executive officer, Michael Lynch, defended the two decisions, saying there was no contradiction.