Former bus operator China Motor Bus (0026) has failed to get planning approval for its long-delayed redevelopment project at its offices in Chai Wan.
The Metro Planning Committee of the Town Planning Board last Friday rejected plans for a comprehensive residential development with retail shops and a public transport terminus.
According to a consideration paper compiled by Planning Department for use in board meetings, there were concerns over traffic.
“The traffic impact assessment is unsatisfactory to demonstrate that the proposed development would not have any adverse traffic impact on the area/pedestrian flow,” the paper said.
There were also reservations on the feasibility of proposed traffic arrangements for the site.
China Motor bus had planned to build three residential towers of about 36 to 38 storeys to house 780 flats over a podium of two to three storeys.
Total gross floor area would be 64,500 square metres (694,278 square feet) or 67,835 square metres (730,176 square feet) if the public transport terminus is included.
Ironically the company secured planning permission in 2002 for redevelopment involving four residential towers with a height of 48 storeys housing 1,316 flats over a podium of five storeys but planning permission lapsed in February 2011.
Another revised application in 2009 for three residential towers of height 54 to 57 storeys was rejected.
According to the board’s meeting minutes in 2009, Swire Properties (1972) was previously involved with the 2009 application.
On one side of the application site is an old and vacated bus depot on land the company owns while an open-air bus terminus on government land is on the other side with a section of Sheung On Street separating the two.
According to the latest annual report of China Motor Bus, its registered company address is on the application site.
While government planners generally approved of the redevelopment plan in terms of compatibility of land use and building design, Transport Department said the traffic impact assessment was unsatisfactory.
Public opinion from residents in Chai Wan was also generally against the redevelopment plan.
It is unclear if China Motor Bus will apply for a review of the board’s decision or resubmit a revised application to the board.
In the meantime things have suddenly got more complicated for the company.
According to the consideration paper, the Chai Wan Areas Kaifong Welfare Association submitted an application earlier this month to amend the comprehensive development area zoning at the open bus terminus part of the application site to open space zoning.