Wang Chau housing saga

Private development plan next to controversial Wang Chau project rejected on traffic concerns

Town Planning Board also reveals New World dropped Arup as consultant after accusations it illegally leaked confidential government data to the developer

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 December, 2016, 8:01am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 December, 2016, 8:01am

A controversial plan by New World Development to build a private residential development in Wang Chau has been rejected by the Town Planning Board, with members citing traffic concerns.

During a meeting of the board on Friday, it was also revealed the developer dropped engineering giant Arup as its consultant. The move came after Arup – also hired by the government for a public housing project in Wang Chau – was accused of illegally leaking confidential governmental data to New World.

A board member told the Post the application was rejected as there was an accessibility issue.

He said the two roads to Wing Ning Tsuen were “too narrow” and that there was “no extra capacity” for the New World development.

Hong Kong government seeks legal advice on leak of confidential data on contentious housing project

The member noted the fact the land was a green belt site was also considered.

New World had applied to rezone a plot of land in Wang Chau to build 1,100 high-end apartments. The private development was proposed to be situated next to a site set aside for the controversial public housing project.

No representative from the developer was present at the meeting, during which the Planning Department told the board’s members that New World dropped Arup as its consultant.

In March, the Civil Engineering and Development Department commissioned Arup to carry out an infrastructure design study of the public housing project in Wang Chau.

Government left high and dry after suspending go-to consultant

The consultant was later accused of disclosing confidential data in a separate application to the board on behalf of New World.

Data relating to Wang Chau’s projected population and job figures – information only privy to government departments for research purposes – was included in New World’s proposal to the board last year to rezone a green belt site.

Last month, the Development Bureau said it was seeking legal advice on the issue.

The revelation came after authorities slapped a three-month ban on Arup from bidding on government projects after it was found to have breached a confidentiality contract.

Lawmakers criticised the government and demanded an explanation from officials on why the punishment was not more severe.