The Planning Department plans to tighten building height controls in Shekkipmei and Yau Yat Chuen to protect the low-rise environments. This is the latest bid by the Government to curb the incursion of high buildings into Hong Kong's skyline profiles. In the past few months, the Planning Department has proposed height limits on The Peak, North Point and Hunghom. The latest proposal suggested incorporating the stepped-height concept for private redevelopments in Shekkipmei and Yau Yat Chuen - from the south of Cornwall Street to the north of Boundary Street. Each site in the area will have individual height restrictions in accordance with its lease conditions. The proposed maximum height for the buildings in the area is made with reference to the 20-storey youth hostel at the City University, in Cornwall Street, which secured building approval in 1998. However, private redevelopments in the area are unlikely to reach the 20-storey maximum height limit because all planning applications will be subject to the Town Planning Board decision. A senior government town planner said it was hoped to preserve the suburban-style living environment of Yau Yat Chuen. Most residential buildings in Yau Yat Chuen are between eight and 11 storeys, excluding public housing estates. The highest residential tower in Yau Yat Chuen is the 19-storey Wharf (Holdings) Primrose development in Rose Street - almost twice as high as the neighbouring buildings. Estates agents said some residents of Parc Oasis, the largest private housing estate in the area, had lodged complaints with the Town Planning Board and the Planning Department. They were upset with the emergence of towering buildings, such as the Primrose. The development was exempted from application to the Town Planning Board. It secured its building approval from the Buildings Department due to loose lease conditions and lack of height controls. In recent years there has been an increase in high-rise towers being built in Shekkipmei and Yau Tat Chuen. It has resulted in some 'pencil building' features in the mainly low-rise surroundings. In March, Hang Lung Development secured Town Planning Board approval to rezone the Tai Hang Tung Social Centre for a 17-storey residential redevelopment. But Hang Lung's plan could be blocked under the latest height-control proposal. The developer is still required to submit project details to the planning board. In recent years there has been mounting pressure to impose height restrictions in Kowloon. Following the closure of Kai Tak airport in 1997, the previous aircraft height control was cancelled. Many developers have taken advantage of the lack of rules to maximise the height of their projects. The most notable is the Harbourfront Landmark a Cheung Kong (Holdings) residential development. It stands out on the Hunghom waterfront, rising to about 70 storeys.