More public spaces, sidewalks to be included in George Town’s replacement special area plan

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

GEORGE TOWN, Sept 28 — The Replacement Special Area Plan (SAP) for Unesco world heritage site George Town, which is on public display now, will include the creation of more public spaces and improvements of walkways for a pedestrian-friendly city.

The Replacement SAP, with 19 strategies and 47 action plans listed in two volumes, covers 111.98ha of the core zone and 150.17ha of the buffer zone with a total 5,285 buildings.

Out of the 5,285 buildings, a total 83 units are Category I heritage buildings and 3,890 units are Category II heritage buildings with the remaining being existing vacant lots, temporary structures or new buildings constructed before the George Town’s inscription as a heritage site.

In the Replacement SAP, land use in the heritage site will be in accordance with the zone categories where 97.57ha (37.22per cent) is zoned for commercial actives, 47.78ha (18.23 per cent) for transportation, 35.35ha (13.1 per cent) for institutions and public amenities, 13.69ha (5.22 per cent) for housing, 4.51ha (1.72 per cent) for open spaces and recreation, 0.85ha (0.32 per cent) for infrastructure and utilities and 63.4ha (24.18 per cent) for the seafront.

One of the strategies listed is to create and improve public spaces along the north seafront, east seafront and the Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal.

This included further expanding the walkway along the seafront, relocating the Royal Malaysian Navy base and construction of an underground carpark with 150 lots in front of the Padang Kota field.

There were also proposed plans to upgrade more back lanes and side lanes in the inner city to form a network of pedestrian walkways.

The Department of Environment and Town and Country Planning Department (PLANMalaysia) deputy director (planning) Nazri Abdullah said the preparation for the draft Replacement SAP started in November 2020 and it is now on public display to receive feedback from the public.

“The public can provide feedback, suggestions or objections against any of the items listed in the SAP,” he said during the launch of the publicity and public participation programme of Replacement SAP at Komtar today.

He said any feedback received will be evaluated and considered by the public hearing committee after the public display programme ends.

He said the Replacement SAP is an inclusive plan that focuses on preservation of the heritage city in a sustainable manner.

The Replacement SAP also contains guidelines on the conservation, maintenance and management of tangible and intangible heritage that contribute towards the heritage city’s outstanding universal value.

Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman represented Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow to officiate the opening of the programme today.

The first George Town Unesco World Heritage Site SAP was gazetted in 2016 and was due to be reviewed in late 2020.

The draft Replacement SAP is available for public viewing for a month from today till October 28 from 8am to 4pm on weekdays at Level Three in Komtar, at PLANMalaysia office at Level 57 in Komtar and at the foyer of the Seberang Perai City Council building in Bukit Mertajam.