Harbour activists try to block plans to build government headquarters on the site Harbour activists will try to have the Tamar site rezoned as public open space. They say the government should develop a public park and scrap plans to build its headquarters on the prime site. The Action Group on Protection of The Harbour said yesterday it would apply to the Town Planning Board next month to change the area's land use from that of government, institution and community to open space. 'We hope to return this piece of land, which allows the public to enjoy Victoria Harbour, to the people,' said legislator Kwok Ka-ki, a spokesman for the group. 'Not only is there an overriding need for it, but also it cannot be replaced by money and other benefits. In fact, looking at urban conservation in other countries such land would be used for recreational purpose without hesitation.' The group said the move was in response to indications by the government that it favoured a proposal to build a government headquarters and a legislative council building on the Admiralty site. Under the government's proposal, the gross floor area housing the new government offices and the legislative building would be 490,000 square metres, about 15 per cent larger than the massive International Financial Centre. The action group said it doubted whether the massive development was intended solely for government use. Property companies have been calling for the site to be released for private development. Dr Kwok said the Tamar area and land in the Central reclamation third phase should become a park. The group said building a new government headquarters on the site would seriously worsen traffic congestion in Central after a recent Transport Department study estimated the development would increase average traffic flow by 800 cars an hour. Dr Kwok said that even the proposed Central-Wan Chai bypass would not solve the problem of increased traffic flow. 'The Transport Department says saturation would be reached by 2016,' he said. 'Will the government propose reclamation again in order to solve the problem?' The group said the authorities could sell the west wing of the Central Government Offices to private developers and use the proceeds to redevelop the rest of the compound and Murray Building for the new headquarters. Dr Kwok also proposed that the former Urban Council building next to City Hall, now used only for meetings of the Liquor Licensing Board and the Harbourfront Enhancement Committee, could be used for the Legislative Council.