Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Stop the destruction of Staunton, Wing Lee and Bridges Street TODAY

I posted only recently about the uncertain fate of Hong Kong’s Central Police Station and it seems that the horrific combination of Hong Kong’s philistine government and rapacious nasty land developers are back in action destroying whatever they can get their hands on. Honestly, hanging, drawing and quartering is too good for them.

The immediate threat is to Staunton Street, Wing Lee Street and Bridges Street which are all key to retaining the ambience of the old Central and mid-levels district. These threatened streets are just behind the Hollywood Road Police Quarters and compose largely low-rise properties running between the Central Police Station and Tai Ping Shan. Bridges Street is also home to the old YMCA building (left).

Arguably Wing Lee Street is the most beautiful of the three with its row of tong laus, the tenement building design that was developed from the late 19th Century to the 1960s and is unique to Hong Kong and southern China encompassing a mix of Chinese and European architectural features. Tong laus have traditionally been shop houses (see left on Staunton Street) with the commercial premises on the ground floor and living accommodation above and often open and airy roof spaces. Many have traditional Canton floor tiles, the original wooden floors and joists and many unique decorative features.



Many of the tong laus around the area under threat have been restored and well looked after (by their owners rather than the philisitines in the government) – to show how well they can be restored see the picture above of the recently renovated tong lau on Johnston Street in Wan Chai.

The current plans are:
Site A (Wing Lee Street): a row of 6-storey low-rise (9 of the original 12 tong laus will be demolished, only 3 will be kept);
Site B (88-90 Staunton Street & 2-10 Shing Wong Street): an 8-13 storey building behind the tong lau in 88-90 Staunton Street;
Site C (60-66 Staunton Street, corner Aberdeen Street): 28-storey high-rise with podium.

The Central and Western District Concern Group's requests are:
1) The entire site should comprise only low-rise (less than 6 storey) buildings.
2) All the historic low-rise tong laus (tenement buildings) on Wing Lee Street should be preserved.
3) New developments should comprise only small land blocks, in keeping with the current characteristics of the area.
4) Bridges Street Market should be re-zoned (to GIC) for community use.
5) Current owners should be allowed to live in their already renovatedbuildings.

To OBJECT to the Urban Renewal Authority’s planned destruction project H19 and support The Central and Western District Concern Group's ideas the deadline for objections on the Town Planning Application A/H3/387 is TODAY, 24 March 2009, at midnight HK time. For more information click here or visit here. Or if you know how it works, you can send your OBJECTIONS directly to the Town Planning Board here.

10 comments:

Dare said...

Your words are music to my ears...I wish the government would put a stop to the URA's attempts to reshape Hong Kong in their own vision...what a boring vision that is with nothing but ugly high rises and public space that has no access to the public.

I have seen even the revised plans for Staunton Street area and it is really scary. The area will be destroyed if they are allowed to pursue this.

Preserve Old Hong Kong

Anonymous said...

I love this area and feel so sad everything will disappear. Walking through this street recently I had the pleasant surprise to find myself in a movie shooting with the street entirely turned into a 60s HK setting. after a little research on the internet I found that they are shooting a movie named OLDEN DAYS MASTER THIEF 歲月神偷. At least the memory of this street will remain on a film.

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