Two City University students yesterday filed a judicial review application, asking a court to quash the Town Planning Board’s decision to allow residential development on a former green-belt site in Shek Kip Mei.
The two applicants are environmental policy student Kwok Ka-ping and accounting student Lau Tung-kiu. The land in dispute is Tai Wo Ping, at the north of Shek Kip Mei.
On May 15, the board rezoned the two-hectare site from green-belt use to residential. The government is seeking to turn 150 hectares of green belt over for housing – a key plank of its ambitious target of adding 480,000 new homes.
Throwing his support to the two students, Green Sense president Roy Tam Hoi-pong said that the board had failed to listen to the views of some 5,000 local residents.
And the change of land use would damage the natural landscape of the area, he added.
Tam said the procedure of the board was “unjust” because some of the board members who voted on the proposal to change the land use did not participate in the consultation process.
“The board did not explain why they had such a decision,” he spoke of the second argument.
He also said the board failed to take into account a report prepared by a university professor in relation to the conservation value of the land.
In March, Civic Party lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching told a Legislative Council meeting that the Tai Wo Ping site was vegetated, close to the Lion Rock Country Park and considered by some environmental groups as having high conservation value.
The government’s reply was that the change was to cater for the housing needs of the public.
It said the site located north of Yin Ping Road at Tai Wo Ping was identified as suitable for rezoning for private residential use.
According to the tree survey conducted by the Lands Department, there are about 680 trees at the site; all tree species on site are commonly found in the city.
Tam said yesterday that the government would invite developers to bid for the piece of land, starting today.