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Letter dated 12 June 2004 sent to the South China Morning Post

The Editor
South China Morning Post

12 June 2004

Dear Sir,

I refer to Ms Christine Loh's article on "Questions on harbour" in the letters column published on 4 June in the Post and would like to provide the following facts in response.

  • According to the 2004 Ratings and Valuation Department Property Review, the stock of Grade A office space in Central and Western districts in 2003 is 1,851,700 square meters. The gross floor area ("GFA") inside the "Comprehensive Development Area" ("CDA") under Central Reclamation Phase III ("CRIII") on reclaimed land is about 95,000 square meters. Calculating the 95,000 square meters against the 1,851,700 square meters, the increase in the stock of Grade A office is only 5.13% and not 15%.
  • On the development density from the IFC to Wan Chai, the approved Central District (Extension) Outline Zoning Plan has clearly stipulated the development restrictions for both existing and planned developments, capping the development density of the area. The road access to these developments will be provided by the Road P2 network, the capacity of which has been designed to accommodate the existing and projected traffic in the area.
  • The claim that there will be 13 lanes of roads along the Central harbour-front is factually wrong. The Central - Wan Chai Bypass ("CWB") is a dual-3 lane trunk road to be built in the form of a tunnel inside the boundaries of CRIII. The Road P2 network, on the other hand, is a dual-2 lane surface road system. The total number of lanes is thus 10 and not 13. Moreover, the Road P2 network is going to be built on top of the CWB tunnel and therefore will not take up extra land space. The CWB is designed to take traffic through to Wan Chai and the eastern part of the Hong Kong Island, whereas the Road P2 network is to serve mainly the developments in the Central Reclamation Phases I and II. The Government has vigilantly reviewed the extent of the CRIII reclamation by applying the "overriding public need test" as handed down by the Court of Final Appeal ("CFA"). The review was completed in April 2004 and the findings of the review demonstrate that CRIII meets the CFA's test and its extent of is the minimum required.
  • The forecast of about 1,200 vehicle trips per hour during the peak periods refers to the vehicular access via P2 to the proposed development on the whole "CDA" site and the leisure and recreational facilities along the water-front. This accounts for only about 25% of the total traffic of the Road P2 network. The bulk of the traffic would come from developments already completed or under construction in CRI and CRII. Further reduction in the development intensity in the area will have little effect on the overall traffic situation.

Yours sincerely,

(Miss Christine Chow)
Housing, Planning and Lands Bureau