Government adds strings to historic buildings available for revitalisation

Bids for heritage sites must factor in traffic impact and wheelchair access

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 January, 2014, 4:02am
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 January, 2014, 4:02am

Plans to develop the King Yin Lei mansion, declared a monument in 2011, will now require government approval of the potential impact on traffic in order to be accepted, the Development Bureau announced yesterday after the committee tasked with assessing bids for the site turned down two proposals over traffic congestion concerns.

The site on Stubbs Road in Wan Chai - together with three other newly announced historic buildings - is back out for tender with extra strings attached after the committee rejected plans to turn the mansion into an ink museum and a venue for wedding ceremonies.

"The rules may seem stringent, but they are there to help [interested bidders] navigate the process better," said architect Raymond Fung Wing-kee, who sits on the committee.

Proposals for the King Yin Lei site will now require a preliminary traffic-impact assessment. If accepted, a full-scale review approved by the Transport Department will then be carried out.

Other site-specific requirements for King Yin Lei include slope and hillside improvement works, minimal alteration of the building and limited on-site infrastructure construction.

The Old Dairy Farm Senior Staff Quarters, on a site on Pok Fu Lam Road, has the most structural and repair issues of the historic buildings put out for tender, and will need extensive restoration work, the Development Bureau revealed.

A few banyan trees growing around the building - built in 1887 - have caused serious damage to the structure.

The former school at 12 School Street in Tai Hang, built in 1949, has considerable space constraints and requires wheelchair access.

George Wong Fuk-wah, who had previously bid for the King Yin Lei mansion, said he plans to bid again, while the Tai Hang Residents' Welfare Association indicated that they will place a bid for the Tai Hang site.

There are no plans yet for the two other sites - the Old Dairy Farm Senior Staff Quarters and the Lady Ho Tung Welfare Centre in Kwu Tung.