Skip to Content


Recent art reviews & articles on exhibitions by AICAHK members will be posted here. Reviews will be published in the original English or Chinese.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of AICAHK.

(再次)守護舊城中環的文化遺產 | Protecting (again) Central’s Delicate Heritage
by John BATTEN
at 12:34pm on 12th February 2018


圖片說明: 主教山上擬建25層高聖公會醫院的構想圖
Caption: Artist’s impression of proposed Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui 25-storey hospital on Bishop’s Hill in Central Hong Kong



(Please scroll down for English version)


會督府位於中環下亞厘畢道,與外國記者會相對,是香港其中一幢最具歷史意義的建築物,所在之處同樣別具歷史意義,既是英國殖民時期的宗教中心,也是聖保羅書院的原址。儘管它是香港最古老的殖民時期建築物之一,具備極高的文化價值,但只獲一級歷史建築評級,而非更高級別的「法定古蹟」;被列為「法定古蹟」將可確保它得到保育,不被清拆或其他干擾。

早於英國殖民管治香港初年,聖公會便獲政府授予這地段的長期批地契約。其後聖公會在此興辦神學院、學校、聖保羅堂、醫院和宿舍。逾160年來,主教山都是香港教區主教的住所和辦公室所在地。用地剛好位於前港督和現任行政長官官邸及聖約翰座堂兩者之間,佔據著傳統上有利和具有重要象徵意義的位置,反映了教會在殖民時期的地位:包含中區政府合署在內的政府山以及政府決策人士都只在一街之隔。

主教山上的文化遺產十分精巧,但從街上看並不太顯眼,然而,除了會督府,陡峭的斜坡上還有另外三座已被評級的歷史建築物。在香港,除了大館/中區警署建築群外,主教山便是在同一範圍內擁有獲評級歷史建築物最集中的地段。

繼2006年引起爭議的中環天星碼頭拆卸,和2007至2008年中西區關注組成功爭取保育現代主義的荷李活道前已婚警察宿舍後,政府被催促要為中環區制訂文物保育政策。2009年,發展局公佈了「保育中環」政策,提出「八個饒富創意的項目,目的是保育中區的重要文化、歷史及建築特色,同時為區內增添活力和姿采」。聖公會用地正是其中一個項目,而2011年則公佈了主教山將增建一幢18層高的社區綜合大樓及在上亞厘畢道新建一座住宅大樓,而教會的神學院和現時於聖保羅堂內運作的幼稚園則將重置到畢拿山一幢由聖公會擬建的物業。

為讓這項計劃推行,行政長官會同行政會議於2011年通過這些主教山批地契約的改變。然而,計劃在畢拿山居民強烈反對下遭到阻礙,居民指出幼稚園遷往該區後會令交通擠塞情況加劇。計劃自此一直未被實行。

2017年初,聖公會向中西區區議會提交文件,提出發展主教山的新建議。圖文並茂的25層「非牟利私家醫院」圖則於區議會會議上亮相,顯示一座擴大了的醫院將轟立於地段內的歷史建築物之間,並附設90個泊車位。公佈以前,這項新計劃從未與持份者或鄰近居民或公眾討論,令人震驚。儘管建議由聖公會提出,仍需交予行政長官及行政會議進一步通過,政府對於是否通過在主教山進行任何發展仍有最終決定權。

擬建醫院與地段內其他低矮的歷史建築物格格不入,可見其未經深思熟慮,也缺乏敏感度:在最新計劃公佈前既未回應交通擠塞和視覺影響,更沒有進行詳細的文物評估。難道政府在2003及2004年數十萬人上街遊行,以至近年的雨傘運動後,仍未學懂什麼是公眾參與?政府為什麼仍然對我城歷史文物及城市規劃倡議團體的意見和提問視而不見?這些組織可以在那些未經深思熟慮的計劃公佈前,提供理性的諮詢意見。諷刺的是,這項最新的主教山建議,竟然是對畢拿山居民堅決反對的回應!

隨著新計劃被公開,多個文物及保育組織正攜手反對這個重建別具歷史意義主教山的計劃。曾成功爭取保育前中區政府合署西座的政府山關注組,已向城市規劃委員會提出規劃申請,將主教山和政府山劃為歷史保育區,並建議任何重建(包括醫院)不可超出現有建築物的高度(醫院為7層高)。你也可以透過以下網站連結向城規會提出意見。主教山上的文物建築別具歷史意義,政府應認真考慮關注組的建議!全新的25層高醫院當然可以興建,但不應該在充滿歷史意義的主教山上!

規劃申請詳情,請見: www.info.gov.hk/tpb/tc/plan_application/Y_H4_12.html 
原文刊於《明報周刊》,2018年1月20日



Protecting (again) Central’s Delicate Heritage

John Batten


Bishop’s House on Lower Albert Road, across from the Foreign Correspondent’s Club in Central, is one of Hong Kong’s most historically significant buildings on a historically significant site, the religious centre of British colonial life and original home of St Paul’s College. It is one of the oldest colonial buildings in Hong Kong and despite its bona fide heritage credentials it has only been accorded a Grade 1 heritage grading, rather than the higher ‘Monument’ status – a heritage grading that would ensure its preservation and protection from demolition or disturbance.

A long land lease for this site was granted to the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui (SKH or Anglican Church) in the first years of British rule in Hong Kong. The site’s lease allows the SKH to operate a theological college, a school, St Paul’s Church, a hospital and accommodation on the site. For over 160 years, Bishop’s Hill has been home and office of the Bishop of Hong Kong, the most senior Anglican cleric in the city. This site is perfectly sited mid-distant between the former Governor’s now-Chief Executive’s House and St John’s Cathedral. It occupied a traditionally advantageous and symbolically important position in the colonial pecking-order: Government Hill with its Central Government Offices and government decision-makers was also just across the road.

The site’s heritage is subtle and not obvious from the street, however in addition to the Bishop’s House, there are three other graded heritage buildings on the steeply sloped site. In Hong Kong, with the exception of the Tai Kwun/Central Police Station site, Bishop’s Hill has the greatest concentration of graded heritage buildings in one dedicated area.

Following the controversial demolition of the ‘Star’ Ferry building in Central in 2006 and the success of the Central & Western Concern Group’s advocacy and campaign to preserve the modernist PMQ buildings in 2007 and 2008, the government was pressed to formulate a heritage policy for the city’s Central district. In 2009 the Development Bureau announced the ‘Conserving Central’ policy of “eight initiatives to preserve many of the important cultural, historical and architectural features in Central while adding new life and vibrancy to the area.” The SKH site was one of those initiatives and in 2011 it was announced that Bishop’s Hill would include a redeveloped 18-storey hospital and new residential block on Upper Albert Road and relocation of the church’s theological college and kindergarten, now operating inside St Paul’s Church, to a property owned by the SKH on Mt Butler.

The Chief Executive-in-Council approved these changes to the Bishop Hill’s lease in 2011 to allow this plan. However, the plan was stymied by strong opposition from the well-connected residents of Mt Butler who argued, amongst other considerations, there would be greater traffic congestion if the kindergarten was relocated. The plan has been in limbo since then.

In early 2017, documents were tabled to the Central & Western District Council outlining a new initiative for the site by the SKH. A few months later, illustrated plans for a 25-storey “non-profit-making private hospital” were unveiled at a District Council meeting with this enlarged hospital wedged in-between the site’s historic buildings. This new plan, with no prior discussions with stake-holders or selected ‘focus groups’ of nearby residents or with the general public, was a shock. Despite it being a SKH proposal, this new plan will require further approval by the Chief Executive-in-Council and the government has the final say on whether any development on Bishop Hill is approved.

The proposed hospital is out of all proportion to the site’s other low-rise heritage buildings. It is an ill-conceived and insensitive proposal: traffic congestion and visual impact are not addressed nor has a detailed heritage assessment been done for the site before unveiling this latest plan. Has the government learned nothing about public engagement since the July 1st mass rallies of 2003 and 2004 and the recent Umbrella protests? And why does government still ignore the views and queries of the city’s heritage and urban planning advocacy groups? These groups can offer sensible advice before (often ill-considered) plans are unveiled. It is an irony that this latest proposal for Bishop Hill is in response to such determined public opposition from Mt Butler residents!

Now that the new plan is public, different heritage and conservancy groups have joined together to oppose the proposed redevelopment of historic Bishop’s Hill. The new campaign is under the umbrella of the Government Hill Concern Group, which successfully campaigned for the retention of the West Wing of the former Central Government Offices. The Concern Group has filed a planning application with the Town Planning Board and proposes that any redeveloped hospital be of the current hospital’s 6-storey height and footprint – you can make a comment to the Town Planning Board at the website link below. That is the only appropriate redevelopment of the historically important Bishop’s Hill heritage that should be approved by government! A new 25-storey hospital can certainly be built – but not on historic Bishop’s Hill!


For planning application details see: http://www.info.gov.hk/tpb/index.html
This article was originally published in Ming Pao Weekly on 20 January 2018. Translated by Aulina Chan.

TOP