Monks who protested against government proposals to turn the area around Po Lin Monastery in Lantau into a tourist haven had their objections thrown out yesterday. The Town Planning Board decided the controversial plan would not damage the natural and religious ambience of the monastery which sits beneath the Big Buddha. The monks, who at one stage threatened to blockade the Big Buddha to protest at the plan, reacted calmly to the news last night. It is understood that the government will make concessions, including awarding the monks the rights to manage a stretch of public land in front of the temple. The board said that no amendment to the plan was necessary but added the government and the monastery had come to an arrangement over the issue. It met monastery supervisor Sik Chi Wai and his fellow monks earlier yesterday to hear their objections. A Po Lin Monastery spokeswoman said it would not make an immediate response but hinted the monks would no longer pursue their objections. 'We still have some reservations but these are minor details. In principle . . . it is okay,' she said. The mild response formed a sharp contrast with two months ago when protesting monks threatened to close the temple, and with it access to the world's biggest seated bronze Buddha. The crisis was narrowly averted following 11th-hour negotiations between senior monks and the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Michael Suen Ming-yeung. The monks were unhappy with the Planning Department's Ngong Ping zoning plan, which proposed to turn government land in front of the temple into a public piazza. The monastery currently uses the area as a ceremonial ground. They also complained that a plan to relocate bus stations and to build an emergency vehicle access would spoil the feng shui of the temple. All three objections were overturned by the board yesterday. Its spokeswoman Brenda Au said the zoning plan had 'adequately achieved the planning objectives and no amendment was necessary'. But she said the government had held constructive discussions with the monastery. 'We believe the government will use administrative means to solve their disputes. It falls outside our responsibility,' she said. The redevelopment calls for the MTR to develop a cable car link between Tung Chung and Ngong Ping, near the temple. The cable car is expected to be finished in 2005. Ms Au said the government was likely to turn the proposed piazza's management over to the monastery.