Lugard Road hotel plan faces more legwork

Transport chief's proposal to toughen vehicle restrictions rejected by opponents

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 June, 2014, 4:05am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 June, 2014, 4:05am

Opponents of a planned boutique hotel on a narrow, winding lane up to The Peak are not appeased by a government proposal to extend traffic restrictions.

At a Legislative Council meeting yesterday, Transport and Housing Secretary Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said the Transport Department proposed tightening restrictions on traffic to the grade-two heritage mansion at 27 Lugard Road, which developer Crown Empire plans to turn into a luxury hotel.

The Town Planning Board gave its approval for the hotel in September, despite 96 per cent of the submissions it received voicing opposition to the proposal.

Under the plan, the hotel would use mini electric vehicles to transport guests and goods, with no more than two round trips an hour. It also promised not to operate any vehicles to and from the hotel between 10am and 6pm on Sundays and public holidays.

Cheung said the department, which will also have to approve the plan, was asking Crown Empire to halt transport from 9am to 7pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

"There are an estimated 540 people on the road per hour on weekends and holidays. On a weekday, there are only 110 an hour, or two per minute," Cheung said.

A pedestrian would come across a car only once or twice, and there should be enough room for both car and pedestrian to pass on the road, whose narrowest section is two metres, he said.

But Central and Western district councillor Joseph Chan Ho-lim rejected the plan, saying that the district's residents were sticking to their demand for no traffic - on all days, at all times.

He also said that at some points the road narrowed to just 1.8 metres.

"If the hotel is allowed to run two trips an hour on a weekday, it is extremely likely for a pedestrian to run into a car. That would be dangerous," said Chan.

Vivian Leung Tai Yuet-kam, chairwoman of the Alliance for a Beautiful Hong Kong, said 120,000 signatures had been collected against the hotel project since October.

"We don't want the hotel at all," she said. "It's common sense that a hotel would be visited most frequently during weekends. It would be impossible to ban traffic to a hotel."

Leung also expressed concern about septic tanks that would be installed at the hotel, which she said would make the surrounding environment unpleasant.