Secretary for Development speaks on Stage 2 Public Engagement for the Urban Design Study for the New Central Harbourfront

Following is the transcript of Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, speaking to the media after the launching ceremony of the Stage 2 Public Engagement for the Urban Design Study for the New Central Harbourfront today (April 11)(English portion):

Reporter: Some critics think the density of these plans are too high. What is your response to that?

Secretary for Development: I think this is a totally unfair criticism because the new Central harbour front is made up of land under two statutory outline zoning plans in Central district and the Central district extension and the land use on these two statutory outline zoning plans have been agreed and approved by the Town Planning Board. In fact in recent years the Town Planning Board had received a number of applications to try to change the land use through rezoning applications but the Board has never agreed with those. The Board has never agreed with any rezoning or change of land use because the Board takes the broad view which the Government shares, but afterall this is a very important district in Hong Kong and this is a central business district. So we have to really also take account of the needs of Hong Kong as a central business district in terms of an additional supply of grade A offices and also preferably if we could have another hotel. The purpose of a hotel is double-fold because if we are talking about a vibrant waterfront we need to have more activities. You will realise that if it is just an entirely office district, then in the evening it becomes very quiet. So I think what we have managed to produce in the refined design concept is a very balanced and progressive way to design and to create the Central harbourfront. Just to give you a feel about the density. The total additional commercial gross floor area that could be produced out of the refined district design is only 260,000 square metres out of two plans with additional area of over 40 hectares of land which could be developed, so you have a feel of a very low level of density that we are suggesting for this area.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript)

Ends/Friday, April 11, 2008
Issued at HKT 20:18