Four tenement buildings in Staunton Street that were renovated recently can be demolished, a Planning Department study has concluded, but the street can be better preserved by reducing redevelopment density in the area. The buildings were bought and refurbished four years after the Urban Renewal Authority declared it was redeveloping the area in 2003. The authority threatened earlier that it would seek a judicial review against the board if it excluded the buildings from the project, as the redevelopment plan was approved by the chief executive in October 2007. The URA was also worried that such a decision by the board would set a precedent for other redevelopments. The Town Planning Board ordered the study in July after a meeting with owners of the buildings. A paper to be discussed by the board on Friday reveals the Planning Department has completed the study and come up with an alternative development plan. The study concludes the tenement buildings can be demolished but they should be replaced by developments of lower density. Under the alternative plan proposed by the department, the affected site's plot ratio - gross floor area divided by site area - is lowered from 9.5 to 6.5, including non- domestic development. Building height is reduced from 148.3 metres to 120 metres - implying that a proposed 28-storey residential block could be trimmed by a few storeys. It advises that Chung Wo Lane, which adjoins the site and is characterised by low-rise buildings, be widened from four metres to six to allow better public access and allow people to see the public open space that will be created in Staunton Street. The department says in the paper that the new planning standards have been proposed after taking into account new revitalisation projects nearby, including a project that will turn the former police married quarters into a base for the artistic sector. The authority said the plot ratio of the overall redevelopment, comprising three sites, would be lowered from 4.5 to 3.98 if it accepted the lowered development density. It added that the site's redevelopment should not be implemented by a third party as the authority had started acquiring properties on the site. Central and Western Concern Group spokeswoman Katty Law Ngar-ling was not happy with the alternative plan. She said it did not address the aspirations of the owners and the community to protect the original streetscape of Staunton Street. 'Reducing the density and preserving the old buildings are completely different things,' she said. 'It would be a silly decision to tear down refurbished buildings.' Law said two residential developments - the CentrePoint, to be completed by Henderson Land, and Dawning Height - would form a wall, with the high-rise proposed for the site, which would block air flow. The URA had scaled down the project's density in 2008 by cutting 18 storeys off a planned 24-storey block of flats on another site to address community concerns. Instead of making HK$100 million under the original plan, it was estimated to make a loss of HK$170 million.