Now that the government has put its plans for a new headquarters on hold, lobbyists say the site should be turned into Hong Kong's 'lungs' London has Trafalgar Square; New York has Central Park. Calls are now mounting for the government to turn the Tamar site into Hong Kong's equivalent, following the shelving of plans to build its new headquarters on the waterfront site. Officials announced on Monday that plans to develop the Tamar site had been put off for six months so that the government could review its priorities. Yesterday, architects and urban landscape consultants urged them to give the prime area back to the community as an acknowledgment of the value of a healthy environment in the wake of the Sars outbreak. Under the original $4.9 billion plan, the 4.2-hectare site would have housed a 1.72 million-sq-ft administration complex, a group of Legislative Council buildings covering 286,000 sq ft, and a 172,000-sq-ft exhibition gallery. Lobbyists said yesterday the government should take the chance to review whether the waterfront site in Admiralty could be turned into a civic centre for the benefit of all. Professor Bernard Lim Wan-fung of Chinese University's architecture department said he thought the government should consult the public on the issue. 'City planning should follow the pulse of the community,' he said. Professor Lim, an architectural adviser on plans for the new Legco buildings on the site, said he did not think it was a good idea to put the legislative and administrative branches of government together in the same place. 'I don't think it would be a happy marriage, whether from an ideological or architectural point of view, to put them together,' he said. 'Why do we need such a dense development in such a prime location? If you look at other big cities, they have plenty of low-density and open-space development like Central Park in New York and Trafalgar Square in London,' Professor Lim said. He said officials should have learned the value of a healthy environment from the experience of the Sars outbreak. In particular, the 'Team Clean' taskforce led by Chief Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, which is responsible for finding ways to improve Hong Kong's cleanliness standards, should review the city's building density. Winston Chu Ka-sun, chairman of the Society for the Protection of the Harbour, had objected to earlier plans to sell the Tamar site to private developers. He said yesterday the plan to build the government headquarters on the site was equally undesirable. Mr Chu echoed Professor Lim's view that Tamar should be turned into the city's 'lungs', as such a civic centre was needed to give Hong Kong a truly international standing. 'If Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa really wants Hong Kong to become a 'world' city, he should do something about it,' he said. 'It would be crime to sell the site ... It would also be a crime to turn it into the government headquarters. Which officials do you think deserve such a sea view? If I had a say, I would put them in Shau Kei Wan. The Tamar site should be reserved for the public.' British town-planning expert Sir Peter Hall, who conducted a study on Tamar's future at the request of Mr Chu's group two years ago, has said that the retention of the site as a public amenity could make up for Central's lack of cultural facilities and open spaces of international quality. Sir Peter, an adviser on the Channel Tunnel and other projects for the British government in the 1990s, said a 'cultural deficit' had resulted in Hong Kong lagging behind other world-class cities such as London, New York or Paris. Architect and development consultant John Hui Wing-to, a former president of the Hong Kong Institute of Real Estate Administration, agreed that the government should reconsider its plans. 'It should not be a site occupied mainly by icy government buildings. It should be a site that is enjoyed by more members of the public.'