A press conference discussing the ‘Change of Plot Ratio and Building Height’ in Old Town was held earlier today at 22 Hale Street. In attendance were Puan Sri Dato’ Sandra Lee, owner of 22 Hale Street, Dr Ko Chung Sen, ADUN for Kepayang, Tan Kar Hing, ADUN for Simpang Pulai and State Tourism, Arts and Culture Committee Chairman and Lim Yi Wen, project executive of 22 Hale Street. A memorandum was received by Tan Kar Hing on behalf of the Menteri Besar of Perak.
The conference highlighted several issues such as impact on heritage, traffic congestion and safety risks faced by a proposed hotel development to be erected at an open car park located within the Core Zone designated, on ink, in the Rancangan Kawasan Khas Pekan Ipoh – Bandar Warisan Bijih Timah 2020 (RKK). The local developer pushed for an almost two-fold increase in both the plot ratio and building height to accommodate its interests in building a 14-storey hotel with an underground basement; many believe this is not only harmful to the collective heritage of Ipoh but it poses serious safety risks to surrounding infrastructure as well. The developer engrossed in this controversial issue is P. K. Lee Sdn. Bhd.
Despite this, Lim has said, ‘We are not against development in Ipoh, however we do strongly feel that heritage conservation and development can complement each other’. Adversely, the amendments were actually rejected before by the previous Barisan Nasional government, as stated by both Dr Ko Chung Sen and Tan Kar Hing.
Despite the conflict of interests, Lim recommended that the authorities engage in an extensive heritage impact assessment on this project in order to integrate modern development within the historical landscape of Ipoh Old Town. This is significantly more important when it is revealed that the surrounding heritage buildings sits on sensitive foundations built using crude methods of the old which threatens the safety of the area.
She also stated that the assessment is required as per the RKK and should be conducted by a qualified professional in building and design with expertise in heritage conservation.
‘It is our hope that Ipoh will become a vibrant city with a good balance of old and new conservation and development so that the glory days of Ipoh will be restored’ remarked Dato’ Sandra Lee.
This matter will be discussed in tomorrow’s EXCO meeting with the Menteri Besar and further information will be revealed, soonest.