A block of flats looks likely to be built on a small site along the Shau Kei Wan waterfront despite a last-minute fight by residents in the neighbourhood.
The Town Planning Board yesterday rejected the residents' request to rezone the 480 square metre site on Oi Kan Road from residential to community.
"We are very disappointed," said Shau Kei Wan concern group convenor Lee Joi-tung.
"Building flats in such a tiny space is to achieve a political target instead of benefiting the community. Can the general public afford a private flat priced at more than HK$20,000 per square foot?"
The group will now seek to launch a judicial review of the government's decision to sell the former minibus terminus, included in a development plan for subsidised flats in the 1990s, to a private developer.
Zoned residential in 2004, it was awarded to mid-sized developer Wing Tai Properties early last month for HK$434 million.
Residents wanted the land used for a nursing home for the elderly to cater for the Eastern District's ageing population.
The site had been vacant since the terminus was moved in 2006. It was included in the land sales list last year as the government hunted for land to deliver on Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's pledge to address the housing shortage. This sparked opposition from more than 20 nearby residents.
Opponents said in their application that the number of elderly people in Eastern District was the highest of the city's 18 districts, but that it had only 896 subsidised nursing home beds.
They also expressed worries that filling the small area with a "pencil-like" building would block the neighbourhood's air flow. But the Planning Department said the development would not block the sea breeze.
A Town Planning Board spokesman said most members agreed that the site was suitable for residential use, adding that they had asked that the Social Welfare Department be informed of the residents' demand for more nursing places.
The board also approved a proposal from the Polytechnic University to rezone an undeveloped 1.2 hectare site on Chung Hau Street, Ho Man Tin, for a hostel and an academic building.