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TPB rejected requests for amendments to Central
and Wan Chai plans


    After very thorough consideration, the Town Planning Board (the Board) today (August 5) decided not to agree to the rezoning requests submitted by the Society for Protection of the Harbour Limited (SPH), Save our Shorelines (SOS) and Clear the Air (CA) to amend the Central District (Extension) and Wan Chai North Outline Zoning Plans (OZPs).

    "On CA's rezoning request, the Board noted the Court's view that determination of policy concerning how best to resolve transport difficulties is a matter for the Chief Executive in Council. It therefore considered that whether Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) is a practicable alternative to building the Central-Wan Chai Bypass (CWB) is a transport policy which lies outside its purview. The Board also noted that the use of ERP would not be effective without an alternative route," a spokesman of the Board said.

    "SOS has proposed to reduce the reclamation by using immersed tube tunnel (ITT) construction for the CWB. After hearing of the views from concerned parties, the Board accepted the advice of the Civil Engineering and Development Department and its consultants that the ITT option was not feasible in this location," the spokesman said.

    "SPH has also proposed to reduce the reclamation extent on both Central Reclamation Phase III (CRIII) and part of Wan Chai Development Phase II (WDII) shown on the Central District (Extension) OZP. The Board noted that the Government had considered a very detailed review on CRIII, which reaffirmed that the extent of CRIII met the 'overriding public need' test laid down by the Court of Final Appeal and the reclamation extent was the absolute minimum."

    "The extent of reclamation within WDII is being reviewed by the Government. It is premature to consider whether to amend that part of the OZP before completion of the review around mid 2006. The Board will look into the matter upon availability of the findings," the spokesman added.

    Nevertheless, the Board saw some merits in SPH's proposals for harbourfront planning. It agreed to request the Government to prepare/refine planning/design briefs for this important waterfront, in particular the groundscraper and the waterfront related commercial and leisure uses sites, to ensure that the future developments would blend in with the waterfront setting, facilitate pedestrian access to the waterfront, and promote visual permeability of the developments.

Ends/Friday, August 5, 2005


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