On 17 June, a Penang City Council executive confirmed that discussions on the project are still underway, content of which has not been fully revealed to the public. It is understood that the mansion could become the lobby of the 13 story hotel block with 3 floors of parking lot to be built just behind it, between the mansion and the seafront. This would mean that even if the mansion itself and its annex were to be preserved, their setting would definitely be lost. Good heritage management practice -which calls, as much as possible, to preserve the ‘breathing space’ around heritage sites- would still be jeopardised.
[*] Jon Lim’s richly documented and beautifully illustrated book “The Penang House” (2015) can be purchased from at ARECA books (Penang), which has a webstore.
[**] The “Save Soonsted” e-petition is still open for signature
In the media:
“Move to preserve Soonstead and Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah” Free Malaysia Today, 1 May 2015
“Soonstead Mansion will be fully preserved, says exco member” The Malaysian Insider, 17 Jun 2015; “Penang Gerakan demands to see development plans for Soonstead” The Malaysian Insider, 16 Jun 2015; “Soonstead mansion included in heritage building inventory list” The Malaysian Insider, 5 Jun 2015; “Protect heritage of Soonstead, Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, council told” The Malaysian Insider, 30 Apr 2015.