The government is going ahead with its application to rezone a Kowloon Tong site for luxury flats amid opposition from Baptist University - even after the development minister said a plan to sell it to developers had been abandoned.
The Town Planning Board's hearing of the application to rezone the plot at Renfrew Road will start on March 10 as scheduled, a Planning Department spokeswoman said yesterday.
The dispute over the southern portion of the university's former Lee Wai Lee campus took a twist on Thursday when Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po said it had been dropped from the land-sale programme.
For the time being, however, the application to rezone it from government, institution or community use to residential use remains on the table.
University president Professor Albert Chan Sun-chi welcomed the withdrawal of the site from the land-sale programme.
But in an e-mail to staff, students and alumni yesterday, he alerted them that "the town planning process of the Lee Wai Lee site is still going on as planned". He urged them to continue supporting the university "as we work towards acquiring the Lee Wai Lee site".
Planning procedures allow the government to withdraw its application at any time.
A government insider said yesterday that the Education Bureau had, in recent discussions, said it wanted to move one of its special schools onto the land. Facilities at some special school campuses did not meet its pupils' needs.
The source said Chan's twist came after the administration realised that the plan to build luxury flats faced strong opposition.
Stephen Tang Wing-on, president of the Baptist University Alumni Association, which has been campaigning against the flats plan, said the government should withdraw its rezoning application.
Planning board deputy chairman Stanley Wong Yuen-fai said the Education Bureau should explain its rationale to the board.