Voicing their fears: (From left) Residents You Von, Dr N. Nagappan, Hooi Wing Chuen, Tan Hong Haw and Low Lee May having a discussion before the hearing.
An assemblyman has called for a freeze in the approval of high-rise projects in Gurney Drive, Penang.
Pulau Tikus assemblyman Yap Soo Huey said the state government and the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) should withhold approval for high-rise projects there and come up with a masterplan for the entire Gurney Drive area to address existing needs and problems.
She said further development of the area should be withheld until a comprehensive study was conducted.
“Results of the study should be given adequate recognition and used to design a masterplan that makes full use of the proposed 40.47ha to be reclaimed under the Seri Tanjung Pinang Phase Two project,” she told reporters outside the Penang Appeals Board’s conference hall in Komtar yesterday.
Yap was there to attend the hearing of an appeal filed by some residents of Tingkat Kelawei and Jalan Kelawei against the decision by MBPP’s Development Planning Department to grant planning permission for a 20-storey high-rise project in the area.
Tingkat Kelawei resident Hooi You Von, 53, said another high-rise in the area would worsen the traffic situation in the neighbourhood which was already congested with vehicles.
Hooi, who held a press conference on Thursday together with some other residents, including those from Sunrise Tower, said the development would be on a small plot measuring only 1,353sq m.
Sunrise Tower resident Kuldeep Singh, 49, said he was not even notified of the high-rise project although it was located just beside his apartment block.
Eddy Ch’ng, 65, another resident of Tingkat Kelawei, said the council had sent only a letter to notify a few residents on Sept 3 last year.
“The letter stated that planning approval was given by the council on Sept 10, 2013,” Ch’ng said.
Yap said proper planning was vital if the state planned to turn Gurney Drive into the next Central Business District.
“There are new developments even though existing serious problems in Gurney Drive have yet to be resolved,” she said.
“Many restaurants and hawker centres along Gurney Drive are actually operating from residential plots,” she added.
She said the area suffered from severe traffic congestion including the service road leading to Sunrise Tower and a lack of parking space.
Yap said an increase of population and density in the area would further burden the drainage system as flashfloods were already occurring there.
She also said residents living near longtime establishment Corner Club had received notice about an impending project involving relocation of the club and subsequent development of a 41-storey hotel on the site.
She added that the residents were against the project. - The Star