Sai Wan Concern and the Central & Western Concern Group have started an online petition calling for the preservation of three sites in the Graham Street Market area, which they say are heritage sites that have not been recognised by the Urban Renewal Authority (URA).

The petition identified three sites slated for redevelopment by the Urban Renewal Authority. The first are tenements houses at No. 27-35 Cochrane Street which – according to historian Mr Tim Ko – are believed to be built around mid-to late-19th century. The groups said that the houses should be protected from further demolition work, which has already begun in the vicinity.

The second is a network of granite roadside drains along Graham Street and Peel Street, which the groups say are believed to be constructed in 1922-1928 and likely to be the last of their kind in Hong Kong. Their claim was based on Public Works Department reports from the 1920s. The groups said that care should be taken during the demolition of sites in the area to ensure that the drains are not damaged.

The third is an old shop sign at No. 21 Peel Street, which belonged to a shop selling charcoal and firewood located there many years ago. The sign has been revealed after its top layers were recently removed, and the groups said that it is “a valuable heritage [artefact] which reflects the nature of shops in this historic street market over many years”.

“We are extremely worried that valuable heritage items will be destroyed during the redevelopment process. This is a great opportunity for the Government and the URA to save some important heritage from this historic street market,” the petition said.

The groups said that the heritage value of the sites has not been considered by the URA and that the Authority has failed to provide any impact assessment reports. They are asking the government to investigate, prevent demolition and construction works in the meantime, and preserve the heritage properties. They also called for the setting up of a conservation plan that would be open to public comment.

The petition will end on November 20.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.