Avenue of Stars project hits roadblock

Avenue of Stars project hits roadblock

Shangri-La Hotel Kowloon and developer Murdoch Investments which owns Tsim Sha Tsui Centre have launched a judicial review against the Town Planning Board’s decision to grant the development of the Avenue of Stars to New World Development.

Tsim Sha Tsui Centre is part of Sino Group, whose chairman is tycoon Robert Ng Chee Siong, while Shangri-La Hotel Kowloon is part of Kerry Group, controlled by the family of billionaire Robert Kuok Hock-nien.

In the writ submitted to the High Court, Shangri-La Hotel Kowloon and Murdoch Investments asked to quash the board’s decision.

It also sought an interim order that “there should be a stay of the decision pending the final determination of the judicial review.”

Named as respondent was the board, while interested parties included the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Sustainable Foundation, a non-profit set up under New World, which Henry Cheng Kar-shun chairs.

The board “misdirected itself on the applicable planning intention and/or failed to have regard to its own policy as regards the planning intention of areas zoned as `open space,”‘ the plaintiffs said.

It was also said to have failed to discharge its duties and failed to take into account relevant considerations, including various aspects and assumptions of the traffic impact assessment, aspects of the visual impact assessment.

Concerns and queries were raised by the public during a board meeting in August on whether sufficient provision for car parks and coach loading and unloading areas had been made to accommodate increased traffic demand, possible noise impact and potential air- quality impacts, the plaintiffs said.

The board’s decision was said to be tainted with “procedural unfairness and frustration of legitimate expectation.”

Two activists had earlier sought a judicial review against development of the avenue, which is facing closure for up to three years after the board conditionally endorsed expansion plans.

In August, the board gave the green light to an application, submitted jointly by LCSD and Sustainable Foundation.

The prime harborfront, opened in 2004, will be extended eastward to incorporate the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade that ends in Hung Hom.

A food hub, a film gallery and a performance venue will be built, and dining facilities will be added in Salisbury Garden, outside the Museum of Art.

New World has promised to cover all the revitalization costs.

Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah has said stakeholders will be consulted over the redevelopment. Lau said the project will benefit the public and managed with a nonprofit approach.


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