Hua Lamphong revamp 'might take up to 3 years'

Hua Lamphong revamp 'might take up to 3 years'

The State Railway of Thailand's (SRT) plan to develop Hua Lamphong station and surrounding buildings for commercial use may have to wait for two or three years, pending new town planning regulations.

A source at the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration's Office of Town Planning and Development said the SRT's change of property use will have to wait for the revised city planning structure that is expected to take two or three years to complete.

According to the source, the 120-rai plot slated for redevelopment as a mixed-use project falls under the blue zone in the city's plan as drawn up by the BMA.

The blue zone is an area that belongs to the government and approval is needed from the BMA to change it from blue to a red zone, meaning a commercial area, before the project can kick off.

"The draft town planning scheme is not ready and will be revised in line with the new town planning law. It will take some time," said the source.

However, while the new town planning blueprint is not ready, the SRT can submit a request to City Hall for the change of land use, the source said, adding the request will be reviewed by the city planning board but it requires public input.

Earlier, the Port Authority of Thailand submitted a request to change use of its 2,353-rai plot, designated as a blue zone, for commercial purposes.

The consideration process took years before the change was approved and included in the new town planning law, the source said.

The plan to redevelop Hua Lamphong station for commercial use is part of the debt-ridden SRT's efforts to return to a profitable operation. While commercial development is in the pipeline, historical buildings will be renovated into museums or learning centres.

Hua Lamphong has been the capital's main rail transport hub for more than 100 years.

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