Proposed Preservation-cum-redevelopment of the CLP Head Office, Ho Man Tin.
This was a section16 planning application of the CLP Head Office located at 139-147 Argyle Street, Ho Man Tin. Masterplan Limited was the planning consultant for CLP Holdings Limited for a preservation-cum-redevelopment option for the CLP Head Office sight. There was a heritage conservation element in the redevelopment in light of the Grade 1 historic building assessment assigned for the site. The application proposed that part of the building with the most significant heritage value (i.e. the Clock Tower Building) be retained while the rest be demolished for a permitted residential development.
Masterplan worked with the client and project team to prepare and submit a proposal for a museum with community facilities, and a residential development. The approach of the application is that the property rights of CLP be protected while the public aspiration for heritage conservation can be achieved. As such, in the proposed development, the Applicant would still get the residential GFA entitlement. In this application, the Applicant has also voluntarily and significantly reduced the height of the residential portion from 156 mPD while had been approved under GBP to less than 100mPD.
A little background of the heritage component, was that the Clock Tower Building (CTB) was built as the China Light and Power Building in 1940 and later used as the Head Office of CLP. It is the most significant heritage part of the existing building. The current proposal is to use the CTB for “Place of Recreation, Sports of Culture (Museum)” use, which required permission from the Town Planning Board (TPB). The application also applied for a minor relaxation of the building height restriction (BHR) so that the residential floor space can be accommodated and the CTB preserved. Permission of minor relaxation of plot ratio (PR) is also sought from the TPB equivalent to the floor area of the CTB so as to provide incentive for preserving the CTB. This is in accordance with the Government’s Heritage Policy.
Throughout the planning application process, Masterplan coordinated the various technical assessments that were taken, and it was found that the proposed development was an improved scheme over the approved GBP Schemes, in terms of height compatibility with the neighborhood, heritage impact, and landscape treatment. The visual impact of the proposed increase in building height by 20m above the new 80mPD restriction is considered to be insignificant in relation to the neighborhood characteristics and the alternative of the approved GBP scheme. The proposed development also satisfied the traffic noise impact and emission requirements.
Upon submission of the application to the TPB, Masterplan liaised with relevant government departments to address some of their technical concerns, and also comments from the public. The application was subsequently approved by the TPB in November, 2011.
The section 16 planning application was approved by the TPB and the client was able to proceed to make the needed modifications to their general building plan submission to implement the project. The town planning application was a significant process that ensured a balanced proposal would be made to incorporate the technical requirements of the government regulations, heritage conservation, community benefits, as well as the interest of the client.