A harbour protection group is calling on the government to scrap plans to auction the old Government Supplies Depot site in North Point until the site plans can be brought up to date with harbour planning principles. The Citizen Envisioning @ Harbour group claims the planning brief that dictates the layout, height and plot ratio of the 1.17 hectare site at Oil Street was drawn up years before town planning and harbour enhancement guidelines were created in a bid to curb the excesses of rampant harbourfront development. The group, which includes architects, development concern groups and academics, wants the government to withdraw the site from the Application for Sale List. A listing makes the Oil Street plot available for sale at the next government land auction if any developer were to offer the minimum price. Albert Lai Kwong-tak, convenor of the organisation, said: 'There is no more reclamation, so we need to take great care of the last remaining land around the harbour. This is the last window of opportunity for the government to rectify the Oil Street site before it commits itself to any developer.' In a letter to the organisation this month, the Housing, Planning and Lands Bureau said guidelines applied only to 'new and uncommitted' sites, which did not include the Oil Street plot. The bureau said plans for the site were approved by the Town Planning Board in 1997, and added: 'To be fair to all parties concerned, including prospective bidders, it is not appropriate to withdraw a site from the Application List after the list was publicly announced.' One of the principles of the government's 2002 Urban Design Guidelines states: 'Avoid the 'wall' effect and create a varying building height profile where appropriate. Taller developments should be located inland, with lower developments on the waterfront.' Mr Lai said the Oil Street site failed to meet those guidelines and that harbourfront buildings on the site will be higher than those immediately inland from it. He said the site's planning brief was drafted in 1996/97 and predated the Town Planning Board's Vision for the Harbour, the Urban Design Guidelines, the establishment of the Harbour-front Enhancement Committee (HEC), and the Harbour Planning Principles. According to the site's planning brief, it has a plot ratio of about 10.6 and a floor space area of 123,470 sq metres, and can be used for residential and commercial projects. Paul Zimmerman, of Designing Hong Kong Harbour District, said: 'The design parameters are outdated, forcing the developers towards a bulky podium-style development with an obligation to provide refuse access on the harbour side.'