Hong Kong’s Town Planning Board is said to have granted approval to the owner of the century-old mansion at 27 Lugard Road in The Peak to turn it into a monument hotel, but with several conditions.
The private property, which has been accorded Grade 2 status by the Antiquities and Monuments Office, was bought by Crown Empire Ltd. in January 2013.
While giving the go-ahead to the owner to turn it into a hotel, the Town Planning Board has attached many restrictions, including limiting motor traffic to the property to between 9 am and 7 pm each day and not allowing catering service, Ming Pao Daily News reported.
Crown Empire said the conditions are very unreasonable, and warned that it may be forced to give up the property conservation project, according to the report.
Groups opposed to redevelopment of the building into a hotel have called on the owner to consider other options, such as refurbishing the place as a residential unit for rental or for a museum, with a view to strike a balance between business interests and conservation.
A spokesperson at Crown Empire said the property has already seen a huge amount of conservation work.
Now, the restrictions proposed by the Town Planning Board would mean that no supplies can be brought in during the traffic ban hours, the spokesperson said. Also, guests who are disabled could face great difficulty going out or coming back to the hotel, the person was quoted as saying.
Central and Western District Councilor Joseph Chan said refurbishment of the residence should be preferred over reconstruction, as the interior decor of the building has historical value.
While it is understandable that the owner of the property is seeking investment returns while undertaking conservation, Chan said he hopes the owner and the authorities will work out a win-win solution.
Katty Law, executive director of Alliance for a Beautiful Hong Kong — a group which aims to promote aesthetic values and the integrity of the natural environment in Hong Kong’s public areas – said the Lugard road site has great conservation value.
She urged the owner to consider other options even if the property cannot be converted into a hotel.
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