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Government accepts Antiquities Advisory Board's recommendations on policy review on conservation of built heritage

The Government announced that it had formally accepted the recommendations made by the Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB) on the policy review on conservation of built heritage.

Attending a retreat session with members of the AAB today (December 19), the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, said, "We have secured additional resources to take forward the recommendations of the AAB pursuant to the policy review. Regarding the Board's recommendation to first set up an administrative built heritage fund to provide funding for current initiatives and timely support for new measures on public education and publicity, we will continue to secure additional resources."

"We have in fact implemented several recommendations in the past few months, which include improving the application procedure for the Financial Assistance for Maintenance Scheme since this April to facilitate the preparatory work of maintenance projects involving privately-owned historic buildings. In addition, resources have been made available for setting up a team in the Antiquities and Monuments Office to conduct 3D scanning for historic buildings which are either under threat or worthy of public viewing. This serves as the first step to create a database of detailed records of historic buildings. In the longer run, we will consider setting up an archive of built heritage for public access and appreciation after the 3D scanning records of historic buildings have been built up to a certain level," Mr Chan said.

"In parallel, the Buildings Department will update, by phases in 2016, the practice note and practice guidebook for conservation of historic buildings to provide clearer and more specific guidelines to private owners and the industry. The Government will also carry out a pilot study on the 'point-line-plane' approach. It will work with the AAB and experts to explore the direction of taking this subject forward.

Mr Chan took the opportunity to express his gratitude to the Chairman of the AAB, Mr Andrew Lam, for leading the members to study the complicated issue of built heritage conservation in the past two years and complete the review successfully.

In February 2013, the Secretary for Development invited the AAB to assist in the policy review, with a view to striking a balance between private ownership and built heritage conservation. The AAB subsequently set up two working groups to study the subject from the policy, strategy and technical perspectives. The AAB completed the review in December 2014 and released the report in January 2015 with insightful analysis and policy direction. The report is available at the dedicated website of the review (www.builtheritagereview.hk). The Development Bureau has established task forces to carefully study and follow up the recommendations. Implementation plans and timetables have been drawn up for the relevant recommendations.

Ends/Saturday, December 19, 2015
Issued at HKT 17:03

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