The Urban Renewal Authority's redevelopment project in Graham Street has been challenged by an activist group that has urged town planners to rezone the area as a market street to preserve the area's vibrant and historic bazaar.
To protect the surrounding streetscape of what it terms 'Hong Kong's historic Old City', the Central and Western Concern Group also suggests rezoning the adjacent Soho area as a 'special design area', with a maximum plot ratio of five and a 12-storey height limit.
In an application submitted to the Town Planning Board this week, the group asked that the authority's office and retail development scheme for Graham and Peel streets be removed, saying it was incompatible with the street market and would overload the saturated street system.
'The community's diverse and multilayered fabric will be difficult to sustain,' it said.
It said Graham Street and the surrounding area included sites relating to Sun Yat-sen and his revolutionary movement. These spots should be sensitively zoned and managed to maintain the area's integrity, it suggested.
The market streets would be retained to allow for cooked-food stalls and alfresco dining, while vehicle access would be limited. It criticised the authority's scheme as a 'planning blight' that discouraged property owners from taking the initiative to repair their own homes.
An authority spokesman said the proposal was being studied and it would summit comments to the Town Planning Board soon.