Hutchison Whampoa has returned to TPB with an application to rezone a Green Belt Site at Coombe Road to residential as part of a land exchange to preserve the Grade 1 listed building at 23 Coombe Road. If you recall, Hutchison made a similar application in January 2014, but subsequently withdrew the 2014 application as a result of objections (773 objections) and adverse press coverage. The new deadline for objections to Town Planning Board is July 17.
While there are many good reasons to preserve the few heritage buildings left in Hong Kong, it is unacceptable that additional green belt land adjacent to Aberdeen Country Park should be sacrificed in a land exchange from government to a private lot owner. The proposed site is a very small, steep site confined between Coombe Road and Aberdeen Reservoir Road. The considerable slope stabilization work and engineering structures required to provide a level platform for construction of a new house will result in a substantial loss of greenery and will have a considerable environmental impact on Coombe Road and Aberdeen Reservoir Road.
We ask your assistance with this matter to write to Town Planning Board objecting to this application. In addition, residents of Carolina Gardens at Coombe Road were opposed to this project in January 2014 and voiced many of the same concerns (see the press coverage included within the Town Planning Board gist attached).
The Secretary, Town Planning Board,
15/F, North Point Government Offices, 333 Java Road, North Point, Hong Kong
Town Planning Board Fax: 2877 0245 and 2522 8426
Town Planning Board Email: email@example.com
REPRESENTATION on Application Number: Y/H14/4 – Coombe Road, The Peak, Hong Kong
I am writing to set forth my views on the above-referenced Application to rezone a site opposite 23 Coombe Road from “Green Belt” to “Residential (Group C) 6. Given the Applicant’s intention to construct a new house on a Green Belt site at Coombe Road, I have a number of concerns about the appropriateness of the rezoning, the visual impact of the new development on the surrounding area, as well the overall impact of a construction project on the site. My objections to the Application are set forth below.
I object to the proposed land exchange and rezoning of a Green Belt site for the Applicant to construct a new house on the grounds that there would be significant adverse visual and environmental impacts for a construction project in such a sensitive location.
a) The planning intention for Green Belt areas under the existing Town Planning Board regulations is to conserve the existing natural environment along the urban fringe areas and retain such green belts as natural boundaries to contain urban sprawl and retain recreational open spaces. The Town Planning Board has indicated that green belt areas are not appropriate for development.
b) There will be a dramatic negative impact on the existing trees and vegetation during the construction process, as well as significant excavation in the area to accommodate a new house. The existing vegetation will be destroyed, and the new house will not be shrouded in layers of greenery as the Applicant alleges. The drawings and design plans included in the Application make it look as though the existing trees and vegetation will be retained, while in reality this will be impossible to achieve as evidenced by the many projects undertaken in the past (the King Yin Lei mansion land exchange site being one very recent example).
c) The site boundary and the proposed suspended deck are no more than six meters from the Aberdeen Country Park, as well as Aberdeen Reservoir Road. The buildings plans have yet to be approved, and modifications having a further detrimental effect may be necessary. The array of columns and bracings below the proposed pool deck will also have an adverse visual impact when viewed from the pedestrian road and country park.
d) Strong public opposition exists to continual attempts to undertake more and more construction projects within Green Belt and designated country park areas.
Accordingly, I ask Town Planning Board to reject the Application.