Two retired government historians say the plan to redevelop part of Government Hill for commercial use will spoil the more-than-a-century-old landscape, a leading reminder of the city's colonial history. Dr Joseph Ting Sun-pao, former chief curator of the Museum of History, and Simon Chu Fook-keung, former director of the Government Records Service, said the Central Government Offices should be seen as an integral part of the landscape shaped by British colonisers since 1841. They were speaking as they led a tour around the area yesterday as part of a campaign against the government's redevelopment plan, which calls for the West Wing of the soon-to-be-vacated headquarters to be sold for a 32-storey office tower and a shopping mall. 'The West Wing itself is an extremely functional piece of architecture, but it should be handled with caution; if the hill is removed, as in 1881 Heritage, it would be a failure,' Ting said, referring to the former marine police headquarters. 'As a historian, I'd prefer to see the landscape kept intact,' he said, describing it as the first town planning initiative by the British. The historian said the British earmarked the area as 'Government Hill' as early as 1841, before they officially acquired Hong Kong Island from China under the Treaty of Nanking a year later. The site was drawn up with two streams that once ran along what are now Glenealy Road and The Peak Tramway as the boundary. The area also included St John's Cathedral, the Former French Mission Building and Government House. Ting said the three office wings were designed in the 1950s as low-rise to preserve the harbour view from the governor's residence. Chu said the West Wing site should be used as an archive museum to showcase important historical documents related to the city. 'Selling part of the hill would amount to [eradicating colonial traces],' Chu said during the tour, organised by pressure groups The Professional Commons and Central and Western Concern Group. The Development Bureau announced last month that the West Wing would be put up for sale after civil servants moved to the new headquarters at Tamar at the end of next year. The developer would be required to turn two-thirds of the area into a public garden. An exhibition of the redevelopment proposal is being staged at the Murray Road Car Park Building in Central. The Democratic Party is organising a public forum on the proposal at the Central Government Offices open space on Sunday.