Problem is a minor one involving emergency exits
Developers will resubmit their plans for a luxury upgrade of the harbourfront Hunghom Peninsula estate as early as next week, after learning they were rejected because of a minor problem with emergency exits.
'The government's demands are just minor amendments; we can improve our plan and send it to the government again very quickly,' said a spokeswoman for Sun Hung Kai Properties, co-owner of the seven blocks with New World Development.
The spokeswoman said the rejection did not affect work under way to remove lights and kitchen cabinets.
The flats were built by the developers for sale under the government's Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) but were left unoccupied when sales were frozen in 2002 to prop up the property market.
The Buildings Department rejected the renovation plans on Thursday, saying some of the work violated the Buildings Ordinance.
The proposals, submitted in June, included combining flats, revising internal layouts, adding lifts, renovating external walls, and altering car parks and access for emergency vehicles.
A department spokesman said it would take a month to process the amended plans.
Friends of the Earth said it hoped the developers would minimise pollution from their renovation, citing the presence nearby of a primary school and Polytechnic University. The developers said 95 per cent of material removed from the flats would be recycled.
Rejection of the plans was the latest twist in a saga that triggered accusations of collusion between the government and developers, and then outrage from environmentalists and politicians when the companies said they wanted to demolish the estate.
The flats were built jointly by New World and a company that was later acquired by Sun Hung Kai under the now-defunct HOS Private Sector Participation Scheme.