Town planners reject activists' push for government land to become greenbelt Tycoon Gordon Wu Ying-sheung is a step closer to building his Mega Tower hotel in Wan Chai after the Town Planning Board yesterday rejected a request to turn a large area of government land into greenbelt. The chairman of the Conservancy Association, Albert Lai Kwong-tak, who filed the request, expressed disappointment over the board's decision. Sir Gordon, chairman of Hopewell Holdings, wants to build the two 68-storey towers bordering Kennedy Road and Ship Street. The $4.5 billion scheme, near his company's flagship Hopewell Centre, faces strong opposition from area residents and green groups. They said the towers would create a walled effect, blocking views from Bowen Road. It would also mean killing too many trees and create heavy traffic congestion. Even though the board rejected the proposal last summer, it turned around after Sir Gordon amended his plans and threatened court action. Two months ago, the board accepted the development would not worsen road congestion to an unacceptable degree. It decided to defer making any decision on Hopewell's plan until February 25. Earlier, the board had rejected a bid by a residents' group to block the development. The Mega Tower hotel plan relies on the government selling its land to the developer. The Conservancy Association filed a rezoning request with the board last year, in which it argued the hotel development should be confined within Hopewell's own land. It wants to preserve a green slope on Kennedy Road, so it urged the board to turn it into a greenbelt. A board spokeswoman said: 'The planning intention is the site can be redeveloped into commercial property. We understand there are concerns over green space in Wan Chai. But the board thinks the existing mechanism is sufficient to preserve trees and open space.' She added that if the board approved the green group's request, the site would have to be broken down into several areas and that would impose restrictions on the site's redevelopment. The board also thinks that banning development of the site contradicts its previous decisions. Since 1985, the board had approved a number of Hopewell's redevelopment plans. But Mr Lai said: 'It showed the board is lagging behind on public expectation. The people of Hong Kong want a better living environment. They want low density and more green space.' The Wan Chai District Council will discuss the project on Thursday and Legco will discuss the plan on January 29.