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Public consultation for preservation of shophouses begins

The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) will start tomorrow (Saturday) the first of a series of consultative sessions on the adaptive re-uses of the 20 pre-war shophouses at Prince Edward Road West and Shanghai Street.  The URA plans to preserve and revitalise these two rare shophouse clusters which have outstanding historical, cultural and architectural values in Hong Kong.

The 10 shophouses at Prince Edward Road West are categorised as Level One-- outstanding heritage value in a consultancy study by the URA earlier this year while the other 10 at Shanghai Street are classified as Grade One historical buildings by the Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB).

The debut is a brainstorming session in which some 100 people from the community including owners, residents, academics, professionals, Yau Tsim Mong District Council members and Yau Tsim Mong District Advisory Committee of the URA will take part in the discussion.  Its objective is to explore appropriate and viable adaptive re-uses for the 10 shophouses at Prince Edward Road West.

The discussion, which will be divided into six groups, will be facilitated by an architect Vincent Ng.  The session will be held at Heung To College of Professional Studies, 29 Playing Field Road, Mong Kok, from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm.

Director, Planning & Design of the URA, Mr Michael Ma, said: "We want to stress that we do not have any preconceived idea of how the shophouses should be revitalised.  We are completely open to any sensible and practicable theme and activities that may be proposed, as long as they are deemed sustainable and compatible with the goals of preserving these shophouse buildings and enhancing local characteristics."

Consideration will be given to all practical suggestions and proposals collected during the sessions when preparing the Development Scheme Plans, which will be submitted to the Town Planning Board (TPB) for its perusal early next year, he added.

Subject to the approval of the TPB and the Chief Executive-in-Council, the URA proposes to invest $1.3 billion to restore and conserve those 20 shophouses.

Another session for the Shanghai Street cluster will be held a week later on 10 October (Friday) evening from 7:30 to 9:30 pm at the above venue.