Former 'Wedding Card Street' shop owners yesterday decried plans to transform their street into a themed area for wedding-related stores, saying the rents would be unaffordable. Separately, the H15 Concern Group claimed higher rents would prohibit most former shop owners from returning to Lee Tung Street, thereby further robbing the area in Wan Chai of character. The group had earlier opposed redeveloping the street. Luk Shum Hang-lin, one of the owners who were forced to shut down last year when the street was emptied to make way for the redevelopment, opened a new shop a few blocks away in Wan Chai Road in June. She says her business has dropped almost 70 per cent. 'We used to print the cards ourselves at the back [of the shop], but now we need to look for different places to print.' Mrs Luk, who specialised in 'hot blocking', said her shop used to hire its own printers on the premises. But since moving, she has had to get the printing done elsewhere and had to ask customers to return in a few days to view samples rather than showing them samples at the shop as in the old days. Mrs Luk said she expected the rents would keep old shopkeepers from moving back. 'They say it's market rent,' she said. 'If it's too high, we can't afford it, or if it's just one or two of us moving back, I don't think I want to.' The blueprint for the revamped Wan Chai area was unveiled last week. The Urban Renewal Authority agreed to preserve the facade of the Wan Chai market and to revamp Lee Tung Street as part of a HK$300 million revitalisation of main historical sites there. Authority chairman Barry Cheung Chun-yuen has said priority will be given to the 27 former shop owners and a rent waiver will be considered. The last of the wedding card shops on Lee Tung Street closed down in October last year. Members of H15 said they submitted a second proposal last month, to redevelop 'Wedding Card Street' in such a way as to allow most of the tenement buildings in the street to be kept. Group member Sin Wai-fong said a hearing was scheduled on January 11.