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293 SIGNATURES OBTAINED, THIS CAMPAIGN ENDED ON February 10, 2018
Historic Government Hill and Bishop Hill within Old Town Central is currently threatened by a huge private hospital development proposed by Sheng Kung Hui – please support Government Hill Concern Group’s planning application to protect this historic area!
Sheng Kung Hui’s plan is to replace an existing 7-storey hospital on Bishop Hill with a huge 25-storey hospital covering an area of 46,659 square metres, with three basement levels, 293 beds, 12 operating rooms and 90 car-parking spaces. This massive development will irreversibly destroy the historic ambience of Bishop Hill and Government Hill.
Bounded by Lower Albert Road, Glenealy and Caine Road, Bishop Hill is linked with Government Hill and the area is one of the most important heritage areas in Hong Kong. The Bishop Hill site, dating back to 1848 as the residence and office of the Bishop of Victoria (Anglican Church), has three Grade 1 historic buildings (the Bishop’s House, St. Paul’s Church and the Church Guest House) and one Grade 2 historic building (the Old SKH Kei Yan Primary School). Right next door is Government House (Declared Monument), Old Dairy Farm Depot (Grade 1), the Former Central Government Offices (Grade 1), St John’s Cathedral (Declared Monument) and the French Mission Building (Declared Monument). In short, the whole area is a precious cluster of historic buildings which lies at the heart of Old Town Central. To erect a 25-storey hospital building in the middle of the area will seriously damage this cultural landscape.
The proposed hospital development will be disastrous to the already overloaded traffic condition in the area. Serious traffic congestion is a daily occurrence on Hollywood Road, Wyndham Street, Glenealy, Ice House Street and beyond. It is impossible for the narrow streets in the area to sustain the additional traffic created by a big hospital which has a large number of patients, visitors, doctors and staff, bringing in more taxis, private cars, ambulances, supply trucks and so on.
Bishop Hill and Government Hill is currently a GIC (Government, Institute and Community) zone which unfortunately has no height restriction or development control. Since 2009, the Government has, through its “Conserving Central” initiatives, conserved and rezoned the sites of the Central Police Station Compound, Central Market, PMQ and Murray Building as heritage-related zones and imposed height restriction on each of them. It is important that Government Hill and Bishop Hill be given a heritage zoning and height restriction to protect it from overdevelopment.
The Government Hill Concern Group has made an application to the Town Planning Board to rezone the Government Hill and Bishop Hill area as “Heritage Precinct” and to impose a height restriction on the area. The application is now open for public comments until 9 February 2018. We invite members of the public to support this application and sign this petition.
To Town Planning Board,
This application Y/H4/12 is currently inviting public comment. I support this application (Y/H4/12) for the above Site to have an “Other Specified Uses (Heritage Precinct)” zoning and impose a Building Height Restriction. I support the application for the following reasons:
1. The intrinsic value of the heritage at the Application Site should be retained and respected. The significance of the site as a heritage precinct with its listed Monuments and heritage buildings are locally and internationally recognized.
2. The general low-rise skyline and greenery of and surrounding Bishop Hill and Government Hill should be preserved to keep the historical integrity and ambience of the site.
3. The planned hospital redevelopment on Bishop Hill is 25-storeys high, an excessive increase to the existing height for the following reasons:
This is contrary to Hong Kong Planning Standard and Guidelines’ provisions for heritage. It is centrally located in a heritage building cluster, and fails to relate, complement and harmonise with those heritage features.
The Application Site’s low-rise heritage cluster of buildings and open space has evolved separately from the high-rise commercial buildings built in nearby Ice House Street and Queen’s Road Central. The low-rise character of the Application Site is integral to the heritage and ambience of the Site.
The roads near the Site are already very congested with traffic. The additional traffic generated by the proposed redevelopment would worsen the traffic, including for emergency vehicles, leading to the Central Business District. There is also inadequate pedestrian footpaths, drop-off points and public transport to support such a large facility.
A smaller-scaled structure, such as a specialist medical clinic, is more appropriate for this heritage Site.
4. Also, any redevelopment amongst and adjacent to the heritage buildings threatening the fragile ambience of the Application Site requires public consultation and the Town Planning Board’s consideration. Any redevelopment requires, as a minimum, a Visual Impact Assessment and statutory planning controls, including a Heritage Impact Assessment and Conservation Management Plan.
5. “Other Specified Uses” zoning for preservation of historical items is now common for similar heritage sites. The existing “G/IC” zoning of the Application Site should be rectified to achieve consistency in strategic planning
This petition was started by 政府山關注組 on February 1, 2018, with an end date of February 10, 2018.
Government Hill Concern Group includes the following members: Central & Western Concern Group, Conservancy Association, Designing Hong Kong, Green Sense, Professional Commons, Alliance for a Beautiful Hong Kong, Sai Wan Concern, Mini-Spotters and other concerned professionals and individuals