Man Mo Temple plans fail to get full TPB support

Concern groups say the building of a youth hostel next to Man Mo Temple could cause irreversible damage to the monument. Photo: RTHK

Katty Law speaks to RTHK’s Richard Pyne

Concern groups are celebrating a small victory after the Town Planning Board declined on Friday to give its full backing to a proposal to build a 21-storey youth hostel next to the historic Man Mo Temple on Hollywood Road.

It decided to amend a zoning plan for the area in a way that would require any residential hostel development to first get planning permission from the board.

Earlier on Friday, the board heard from supporters and opponents of the project.

The Tung Wah Group of Hospitals (TWGH), which applied to build the hostel with government funding under the Youth Hostel Scheme, said the building would accommodate 302 beds for young people at an affordable rent. It said it had incorporated recommendations from a heritage impact assessment, and stressed its experience in dealing with building projects involving valuable heritage sites.

But opponents of the plan emphasised that the Man Mo Temple is a declared monument, and its architectural and structural integrity should not be disturbed by what it called inappropriate developments.

Katty Law from the Central and Western Concern Group said the temple is “a very important heritage building and the government as well as TWGH shouldn’t do anything to put this building in danger”.

“There is a very high risk factor here to do large scale construction right next to a declared monument,” she added.

Law said her group was not against the policy of building youth hostels – only the use of public funds to support a project that may damage a declared monument.