Following is a question by the Hon Lee Wing-tat and a reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (June 25):
The MTR Corporation Limited ("MTRCL") is planning to take forward three property developments at the sites of TW5, TW6 and TW7 at Tsuen Wan West Station of the West Rail. The developments include the construction of 20 residential blocks of 39 to 52 storeys with building heights ranging from 138 to 194 metres, as well as two blocks of hotels. Some of the residential blocks will be constructed in a row along the waterfront promenade, while some others will be spread out in a straight line, and there will also be a total of three groups of paired blocks standing side by side. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
(a) it has assessed the impact of such developments after their completion on the air ventilation in the inland areas of Tsuen Wan; if it has, of the results; if not, the reasons for that;
(b) it has assessed the impact on the coastal view of the area to be brought about by the construction of buildings with such heights at the sites along the waterfront, and if the planning policy of constructing low-rise buildings at sites along the waterfront has been violated; and
(c) it will request MTRCL to reduce the scale of such developments and revise the layout and design of the buildings, with a view to minimising their impact on the air ventilation and coastal view of the area?
The three developments, which are located at the sites of TW5, TW6 and TW7 of the Tsuen Wan West Station of the West Rail, fall within the "Comprehensive Development Area". The Master Layout Plans (MLPs) for these developments were submitted by the applicant (the former Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC)) to the Town Planning Board (TPB) for approval and were granted planning permissions between 2000 and 2001. In approving the applications, the TPB had taken into account the assessment of studies on the visual, traffic, environment and drainage impacts submitted by the former KCRC, as well as the views collected from consultation at the district level.
My reply to the three-part question is as follows:
(a) In 2006, the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines were revised to incorporate the Qualitative Guidelines on Air Ventilation. However, these qualitative guidelines are not legally binding. Later, a "Technical Circular on Air Ventilation Assessment" (Technical Circular) was also promulgated to encourage quasi-government organisations and private developers to initiate air ventilation assessment when planning and designing their projects. As the above three developments were approved by the TPB before the promulgation of the Technical Circular, the applicant does not need to submit air ventilation assessment reports for the projects.
(b) Planning guidelines on the construction of low-rise buildings along the waterfront were incorporated into the "Urban Design Guidelines", Chapter 11 of the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines, in November 2003. The MLPs of the waterfront developments of TW5 and TW6 had been approved by the TPB before amendments were made to the Urban Design Guidelines.
(c) Regarding the development of TW5, although the relevant MLP was approved in 2000, amendments to the approved MLP were initiated by the former KCRC, which included deleting one residential block at the waterfront site, constructing hotels at the non-waterfront site instead, adjusting the disposition of the buildings, and widening the breezeway and view corridor to improve the air ventilation and visual permeability. The amendments were approved by the TPB on June 29, 2005.
We are aware of Tsuen Wan residents' concerns over the scale of the three developments as well as the disposition and design of the buildings and their impact on air ventilation and waterfront view of the area. We understand that the former KCRC representatives, when attending the Tsuen Wan District Council meeting in 2006 to listen to members' concerns and views on the possible impact of the three developments on air ventilation and visual quality, indicated that they would consider accommodating and enhancing, as far as they could, the design of the buildings, including sky gardens, greening and building materials etc. Recently, the Planning Department, after meeting with the Hon. LEE, has liaised with the MTRCL, hoping that they would take into account the public concerns and views expressed and endeavour to enhance the design at the detailed design stage of the developments in future.
Ends/Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Issued at HKT 17:30