Bangkok governor defends city’s fourth plan revision amid public criticism

Chadchart Sittipunt, the Governor of Bangkok, stood firm in defence of the city’s fourth plan revision amid public censure for its perceived favouritism towards developers. The 57 year old city chief yesterday, January 11, responded to the criticism by affirming City Hall’s receptiveness to constructive feedback while cautioning against potentially divisive comments.

Chadchart explained via a Facebook post that the city’s laws necessitate a plan revision every five years to accommodate the evolving needs of Bangkok’s growth. He stressed that the updated plan’s primary goal is to improve the living conditions of the city’s inhabitants.

Public hearings are currently being held for the revised plan before its submission to a Provincial City Plan Committee for further consideration. One such hearing, held on Saturday, witnessed the voicing of various concerns.

Korn Chatikavanij, a former finance minister and a representative of a civic group, criticised the plan for its apparent emphasis on intensifying the city’s density at the expense of improving the quality of life of its residents. He also questioned the rationale behind widening 148 roads across the city, a move that City Hall asserts will support the railway system.

Korn expressed suspicion that the road expansion is a ploy to facilitate the construction of high-rise buildings in residential areas, as current laws prohibit the erection of such structures on narrow roads.

Korn also voiced opposition against a FAR (floor-to-area ratio) bonus. He proposed that City Hall should make the measure a primary condition for developers to mitigate the risk of corruption.

Quality of life

Sophon Noorat, the head of the Rights Protection and Protection Department of the Thai Consumer Council (TCC), echoed similar concerns, stating that the plan appeared to favour development over the enhancement of people’s quality of life.

Another critic, Kongsak Sahamontree from the Urban Life Quality Protection Community Network, pointed out a lack of public participation in the plan, urging for more inclusion of people’s opinions and subsequent plan revisions.

On Tuesday, Wisanu Subsompon, a deputy governor of Bangkok, asserted that the revised plan was drafted in light of the city’s expansion and the need to repurpose certain areas to increase green spaces for public use. He assured that the colour coding used in the plan was intended for the benefit of the public, not specific developer groups.

Wisanu also affirmed that the public could express their views on the plan for at least 90 days before its approval, reported Bangkok Post.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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