Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP), Kerry Properties and Paliburg Holdings have suffered a setback in their joint-venture effort to turn a warehouse site at Ap Lei Chau into a residential development. The Town Planning Board yesterday turned down the plan, saying the proposed high-rises would have an undesirable visual impact. Another concern was noise from neighbouring shipyards, which was unfavourable for residential developments, the board said. The site had been approved in principle for housing use, but the developers cannot proceed with a residential development until the board is satisfied with their plan. The 1.67-hectare site at Ap Lei Chau Praya Road was bought by Paliburg for HK$230 million in 1995. The company sold a 70 per cent interest in the site to SHKP and Kerry for a combined HK$399 million in 1999. Yesterday, the three companies submitted a plan to build four residential buildings of 42 to 50 storeys with 1,290 units. This would involve developing 884,000 square feet of residential space and 29,000 sq ft of retail and public transport interchange area. A planning board spokesman said the proposal could not solve the noise pollution problem. 'To avoid the noise problem, some board members suggested it might be better to build hotels [rather than residential properties] there,' she said. Another concern was the visual impact of the development, given the proposed building heights. The board's members said ships entering Hong Kong from the south would easily see the tall buildings at the site. The board also was concerned about additional traffic to be generated from a residential development, said the spokesman. Separately, the planning board yesterday approved Po Leung Kuk's application to build a hostel on its Leighton Road headquarters in Causeway Bay. The charity institution proposed to redevelop West Wing Building into a 25-storey, 78,153 sq ft hostel with 200 rooms. There will be 12 floors for hostel use, eight floors as the institution's office and three floors for car parks. The planning board also approved the rezoning of the Mariners' Club in Tsim Sha Tsui to allow development of serviced apartments. The Mariners' Club intends to build a 47-storey serviced-apartment building at 11 Middle Road, with a residential area of 217,000 sq ft and 400 flats. The development will include a new club and retail facilities, which will have a combined area of 26,000 sq ft.