After a saga starting 12 years ago, and three planning applications later, the last in 2010, the proposed development of 13 3-storey houses with pool and club house in Ho Chung is back on the boil again.
Planning application A/SK-HC/271 was lodged with the Town Planning Board on 16 August. Public comments on the application are to be made before 15 September, with the Planning Board meeting scheduled for 13 October.
The plan is sure to raise objections. The site is currently an eyesore, a derelict brown field site, so there is an argument in favour of development, but whether such a comprehensive scheme is the answer is an open question.
The companies behind the plan, Webster Investments Company Ltd. and Diamond Faith Company Ltd., have tried on three previous occasions to get permission to start the land acquisition. Webster Investments Company Limited operates as a subsidiary of Emperor International Holdings Ltd. Diamond Faith Company Ltd is a privately owned company with three directors; all are employees/directors of Emperor related companies.
Under Section 16 of the Town Planning Ordinance for “developing a low density residential development”. The site is currently zoned Residential (Group E) on the Ho Chung outline Zoning Plan. The applicants claim that the development is in line with the planning intention to replace old industrial activities with residential development.
The three previous unsuccessful applications all had conditions imposed on them – mainly to do with traffic, access and sewerage constraints. The main sticking point was that any development should wait until Hiram’s Highway had been widened and the access to the site confirmed. As the road widening is now taking place it is clear that the project will have more chance of getting the required planning consent. There were also concerns about car parking. The current application includes 26 car parking spaces as well as visitors’ car parking.
The development is essentially 13 blocks of 3 storey village type houses grouped around a central community area – pool and clubhouse. The proposed designs of the houses also follow fairly standard village house designs of 2100 sq ft.
The full planning application can be downloaded from http://www2.ozp.tpb.gov.hk/gist/apply/en_tc/A_SK-HC_271_tc.pdf