Is it a car park, concert-hall backstage or pedestrian area? There are always cars parked in the open space between the Tsim Sha Tsui bus station and the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. It might be the car park with the best view in Hong Kong. Not only is it next to the harbourfront, it is free of charge - if permission to park there has been obtained from the cultural centre. Although parking there has been a longtime practice, a harbour activist and a culture critic repudiated such arrangements. One day last week, six private cars - two Mercedes-Benzes, two Hondas, an Audi and a Nissan - were spotted parking in the area for hours. A check of their registrations with the Transport Department revealed that two of these cars belonged to WSM Entertainment and Worldstar Music International. The other four belonged to individuals. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department said the four private vehicles were associated with those who had hired the concert hall for that date and were allowed parking upon prior registration with Hong Kong Cultural Centre management. One private car parked in the area was registered under the name of Flinly Kwan Chun-nin, a special-effects operator. Mr Kwan told the Sunday Morning Post he did not recall parking his car there that day, 'but I park there every time I have to work in the Cultural Centre'. The department said it was normal practice for clients to park in that area during their booking period for loading or unloading props, equipment and costumes and when transporting performers and makeup artists to the venue. Harbour activist Paul Zimmerman doubted the private cars seen there last week were loading equipment. 'I don't think the car of a special-effects operator satisfied any of these criteria. It is just for convenience's sake.' He said: 'This is a bad choice, making this public open space a car park. 'The ideal use of this area next to the waterfront should be for people, like having a restaurant for people sitting outdoors having beer or coffee. But now the area is only used for taking photos and parking,' said Mr Zimmerman, a founding member of Designing Hong Kong. The executive director of experimental theatre company Zuni Icosahedron, Mathias Woo Yan-wai, said the use of the area as a car park reflected how impractical the government was on cultural administration. 'The basement car park of the cultural centre is too far away from the stage. The so-called concert-hall backstage area, which is actually an outdoor open space, is strange, as pedestrians keep on passing by while props are being loaded or unloaded. It is dangerous and not user-friendly at all,' Mr Woo said. 'It is unusual to have a loading area on the ground floor like the Hong Kong Cultural Centre's. Usually, the loading area of props is at the basement level and a lift can reach the backstage directly from there.' He said similar mistakes were likely to be committed in the West Kowloon Cultural District, 'as the project is dominated by administrators or famous-brand designers - all of them have no idea on details about theatres'. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department said permission was also given to other government departments to park in the open space for carrying out official duties. The basement car park of the cultural centre is not open to the public. The nearest car parks are in Ocean Terminal, Middle Road Wilson Car Park, New World Centre Car Park and Sogo Car Park.