I am one of those who opposes the hotel development, and I lived at 27 Lugard Road for over 12 years. Based on my knowledge and experience of the property and its neighbourhood, am I, according to Dr. Lee, ‘completely wrong, misguided and misinformed’?
As far as conservation is concerned, I fail to see how gutting a perfectly interior and subdividing it into 13 small rooms can be regarded as ‘conservation’. Conservation goes beyond just preserving bricks and mortar. Lugard Road itself is a heritage, and No. 27 is part of this heritage. If one was genuinely concerned about conservation, he should keep the house at as it is, a family residence. The house has been fastidiously maintained over the years and is in perfect condition. There is no valid reason to demolish or disfigure it.
I have driven in and out of Lugard Road close to 10,000 times over the years and I am somewhat more qualified than Dr. Lee on traffic issues. With ever increasing human traffic it has become too hazardous to drive along there. With the road at only 1.8 meters wide at several sections, you do not want to encounter a baby stroller or a wheelchair.
Dr. Lee also failed to mention the lack of emergency support at No. 27. No fire engine or ambulance can physically access the house. The Peak Fire Station will send a 660cc Suzuki mini van which lacks any fire-fighting or rescue capability. The existing swimming pool, with high pressure plumbing installed purposely in case of fire, will be demolished by the hotel developer. Future hotel guests please take note: do not have a heart attack or play with matches.
Also not mentioned is a new septic tank, size of a small swimming pool, will be built on adjacent government land. This will discharge 20,000 litres of effluent a day onto the Hong Kong Trail and the adjacent Pokfulam Country Park.
Conservation is about the environment, the heritage and also people, not just an old building. We need a broader vision and a higher level of thinking.
I would like to clarify, in contrary to the SCMP article, I am not a member of Alliance for a Beautiful Hong Kong, nor was I the seller of the house at No. 27 Lugard Road. I am very disappointed a publication of such calibre managed to get such fundamental facts so wrong. I demand SCMP to set the record straight.
Dr. J K F Yao