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Antiquities Advisory Board gives Dragon Garden Grade II historic status

The following is issued on behalf of the Antiquities Advisory Board:

The Antiquities Advisory Board has accorded the private Dragon Garden at Tsing Lung Tau, New Territories, the status of a Grade II historic building, after the board's assessment of the heritage value of the garden at its meeting today (September 25).

Built in late 1950s, Dragon Garden was privately owned by Mr Lee Iu-cheung, the late Chinese community leader and philanthropist. Covering some 26,500 square metres, Dragon Garden is a traditional Chinese landscaped garden designed with reference to structures and layout of imperial architecture in Beijing, an architectural style of the Chinese Renaissance. It is believed that the Garden was designed by the renowned Chinese architect, Chu Pin. Similar architectural work of such a high standard of workmanship is rarely found in Hong Kong.

The board discussed the preservation of Dragon Garden at its meeting on July 5. To help assess the garden's heritage value, the board members asked the Antiquities and Monuments Office to study the history and architectural merit of the garden. The result of the study was submitted to the board for consideration.

In accordance with the established grading system, the historical value, architectural merit, authenticity, rarity, integrity and social value of the historic buildings are taken into account when buildings are categorised into three grades. Buildings accorded Grade II status are considered of special merit; efforts should be made to preserve them.

The board was told that the owner of the Garden, Dr Lee Shiu, had contacted the Government about his wish to donate the garden to the Government for the purpose of preservation. The Government agreed in principle to accept the donation and turn the garden into a leisure facility for the public's enjoyment.

"The Government and Dr Lee are working on the legalities of the donation of the garden. Under the written authorisation from Dr Lee on September 1, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) is providing transitional site management for the garden," the spokesman said.

The LCSD would together with the concerned Government departments conduct site inspections to determine the detailed scope of preservation works and to estimate costs once the legal process was completed and it had taken formal possession of the garden.

"Upon completion of the donation process, the Government will begin renovation works as soon as possible," the spokesman said.

Ends/Monday, September 25, 2006

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