Hung Lau to be declared as proposed monument

     The Government will commence the statutory procedure under section 2A of the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance (Chapter 53) (the Ordinance) to declare Hung Lau near Shek Kok Tsui Village, Castle Peak, Tuen Mun, New Territories, as proposed monument.
     A spokesman for the Development Bureau said, "The Government is highly concerned about the works recently carried out near and in the interior of Hung Lau. The Buildings Department has issued a statutory order under section 23 of the Buildings Ordinance (Chapter 123) to require the owner to stop the works. With the support of the Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB) today (March 9), the Government will publish by notice in Gazette to declare Hung Lau as proposed monument as soon as possible with a view to offering immediate statutory protection to the building."
     Once a building has been declared proposed monument, it will be subject to stringent controls provided for under the Ordinance. These include the prohibition of any building or other works to demolish, remove, obstruct, deface or interfere with a proposed monument unless a permit is granted by the Antiquities Authority (i.e. the Secretary for Development). The proposed monument declaration, which will be valid for 12 months, will allow time for the Government to discuss with the owner on possible preservation options and will enable the Antiquities Authority to consider in a comprehensive manner whether or not the proposed monument should be declared as monument on a permanent basis. 
     "We have all along maintained communications with the owner's representatives. We will continue to discuss preservation-cum-development proposals with the owner," the spokesman for the Development Bureau said.
     Since 2008, the Government has been proactively reviewing whether individual buildings (such as some Grade 1 historic buildings) have reached the "high threshold" of monuments and should be declared as "monuments" under the Ordinance. If a particular Grade 1 historic building is, say under demolition threat, or there are proposals to undergo alteration works that may affect the heritage value of the building, thus requiring immediate statutory protection, the Government will consider declaring relevant historic building as "proposed monument" in accordance with the Ordinance.
     At its meeting on February 28, 2017, the AAB decided that should there be undesirable action on the part of the owner of Hung Lau in future, the mechanism for declaration of proposed monument would be triggered promptly.

Ends/Thursday, March 9, 2017
Issued at HKT 20:55