IPOH, Nov 20 — The tourism stakeholders in Ipoh Old Town want Mentri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu to restrict the size of a proposed hotel here over fears it could damage the century-old heritage buildings in the area.
The protest memorandum was delivered by Kepayang assemblyman Dr Ko Chung Sen to State Tourism, Arts and Culture Committee Chairman Tan Kar Hing, who received it on behalf of the mentri besar.
The 22 Hale Street Heritage Gallery curator Lim Yi Wen said the plot is within the core zone as gazetted by the Ipoh City Council as the Heritage City of Tin 2020, where buildings are restricted to five floors and a plot ratio of 1:3.5.
“However, the developer who owns the land, applied to amend the plot ratio to 1:6.0 and building height to 14 stories, in order to build a 14-storey hotel with an underground basement on the plot,” she told a press conference held at the heritage gallery here.
Lim said the piling necessary for such a building would pose a risk to nearby structures, especially older heritage buildings constructed using more rudimentary methods from before.
She also said that allowing the hotel would open the floodgates to others that exceed the five-storey limit.
“The state government has been promoting Ipoh Old Town as a tourist destination and it attracts tourists around the globe. So why kill the goose that lays the golden egg?
“Any development must not change the physical fabric and social and cultural essence of the old town. It must take heritage into account. New buildings should correspond and be sensitive to the existing heritage buildings in terms of height, size, design, and not invade the existing skyline of the old town,” she said.
Lim urged authorities to conduct a thorough heritage impact assessment and hopes the state government will take a holistic approach to development with urban conservation in mind and ensure that the fabric and cultural heritage of Ipoh Old Town is preserved.
Separately, Tan said the matter was not finalised and the state government was still taking feedback.