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Two sets of Town Planning Board Guidelines revised

    Two sets of revised Town Planning Board Guidelines have been promulgated today (January 11).

     The Town Planning Board (TPB) guidelines on use/development within "Industrial" and "Other Specified Uses (Business)" zones have been revised to provide guidance to prospective applicants on the specific requirements for change of use of industrial premises to commercial uses to address fire safety concerns.

     Based on the advice of the Fire Services Department, the guidelines specify that the aggregate commercial floor areas on the ground floor of an industrial or industrial-office (I-O) building with and without sprinkler systems should as a general principle not exceed 460m? and 230m? respectively except for conversion of the whole floor where the commercial portion is completely separated from the industrial or I-O portion on the upper floors by a buffer floor such as a car-parking floor. In all cases, separate means of escape should be provided for the commercial portion.  

     The limits on commercial floor space, however, do not apply to uses which are ancillary to or for the purpose of supporting the industrial activities or the routine activities of the workers in the building, for example, bank, fast food counter, electrical shop and local provision store. Prospective applicants may check with the respective District Planning Office of the Planning Department on the aggregate commercial floor area already approved in the building before making a planning application.

     In addition, revisions have also been made to the Master Schedule of Notes for the industrial-related zones to delete the provisions for applying for some uses in an existing industrial or I-O building which may result in a large number of people being exposed to fire risk which they would neither be aware of nor prepared to face. These uses include "Religious Institution", "Training Centre", "Educational Institution" and "Place of Entertainment". The amendments will be incorporated into the relevant statutory plans.

     Since fire safety is a major concern and a pre-requisite for approving any change of use of industrial premises to commercial uses, the TPB will, in approving any change of use in future, impose a time-limit condition requiring the applicant to provide fire safety measures before operation of the approved use. If the condition is not complied with as required, the permission will be revoked. Given that an application for commercial use of an industrial premises may in effect be approved on a first-come, first served basis having regard to the limits on the aggregate commercial floor area, a shorter time limit of two years (instead of the normal four years) for commencement of the change of use will be imposed to avoid possible abuse by some applicants holding the permissions indefinitely without any prospect of implementation.

     The revised guidelines (TPB PG-No. 22C and 25C) are now available at the Secretariat of the TPB at 15/F, North Point Government Offices, 333 Java Road, North Point, Hong Kong (Tel: 2231 4810 or 2231 4835) and the TPB's website (  

     Any enquiries on the guidelines may be addressed to the Secretariat of the TPB or the Planning Enquiry Counters of the Planning Department (Hotline: 2231 5000) at 17/F., North Point Government Offices and 14/F, Sha Tin Government Offices, 1 Sheung Wo Che Road, Sha Tin or by email to

Ends/Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Issued at HKT 18:05


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