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Monday, June 15, 2009

Reconsider height limit on hotel projects, Penang council urged

The Real Estate and Housing Developers' Association Malaysia (Rehda) has called on the Penang Island Municipal Council to reconsider the restriction made to limit Penang's inner city hotel projects to 18m height or five-storey.

"We respect the decision made by the Penang state authorities to preserve George Town as a world heritage site, but the restriction is unfair to the industry," Rehda president Datuk Ng Seing Liong said in a statement.

The association said it is concerned that the state planning department is now applying the 18m height blanket restriction despite having given approval for the four projects initially.

"It is premature for the state to pre-empt Unesco's decision on the status of the four projects. This is because Unesco has yet to decide how the 18m height restriction would affect the four approved projects in the state's heritage and buffer zones," Ng said, referring to the RM400 million The Pier Hub @Weld Quay project, the RM140 million Boustead Royale Bintang Hotel in Lebuh Downing, the E&O Hotel's extension project and a 23-storey hotel in Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah.

He stressed that the state should protect the concerned projects, if it believes in the benefits to be generated by the projects.

Ng said it is important to know Unesco's view on the shortcomings of the heritage listing application with regard to the 18m height restriction.

"The state authorities should seriously review and study the need for such restriction. There shouldn't be any assumption that Penang will lose its world heritage status if the projects are carried out," he said.

By Business Times

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