The relocation of the privately owned Maritime Museum from Stanley to pier No 8 in Central has been given the green light by the Planning Department.
According to the relocation proposal, public viewing decks will be converted into an exhibition hall, resource centre and office. A new mezzanine floor will be added, to be used as a gallery. The new facilities, which will occupy an area of 4,200 square metres, will include storage space for artefacts, as well as a restaurant.
The Harbourfront Commission endorsed the proposal as an interim arrangement last month, as some commission members had said the pier had limited room for the museum to expand in the future.
The Planning Department, in a government paper to be discussed at a Town Planning Board meeting tomorrow, said it had no objection to the proposal.
The department said that if the board approved the plan, the museum should be required to conduct an air-quality assessment to ensure the cafe on the roof would not be affected by emissions from ferries.
Signs indicating free access should be provided on the cafe terrace. A landscape proposal for the roof should be subject to the approval of the board and the department's director, it said.
The department also said the relocation would result in a loss of public space at the harbourfront. The museum was advised to explore the feasibility of providing an alternative area within the pier, with free access, for the public to enjoy harbour views.
During the three-week public consultation, 2,168 comments were received, of which 122 were objections to the proposal.
The objectors were concerned about the loss of public viewing decks and were worried that public access to the waterfront would be impeded.
The department said the proposed ticket price for the museum of about HK$30 per person was generally affordable, and concessionary tickets for groups, families and students would be available.
'Should the demand for ferry use increase in the future, premises could be brought back into ferry use, as modifications to be made for the proposed museum are reversible,' the department said.
The museum, currently at Murray House in Stanley, has to vacate those premises by February 2012.