LCQ16: The leasing of units in flatted factory estates under the Hong Kong Housing Authority
At present, the units in the six flatted factory estates under the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) are available for leasing. HA has drawn up a Reference Trade List, which comprises 12 generic trade groups of light industries, and the relevant Guiding Principles for determining whether prospective tenants may rent such factory units for running their trades. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of (i) the occupancy rate and (ii) the number of tenants (broken down by trade group), and (iii) the number of tenants that engaged in cultural, arts or sports related activities, in respect of the factory units under HA in each of the past three years;
(2) whether the authorities will consider relaxing the leasing policy for the factory units under HA, such as according priority of leasing to organizations engaging in cultural, arts or sports related activities and allowing such organizations to use the factory units for non-manufacturing purposes, with a view to expanding the room for survival for such organizations; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(3) as it has been mentioned in the Policy Address delivered recently that the Government is studying ways to facilitate the conversion, subject to fire safety and building safety requirements, of the lower floors of industrial buildings for non-industrial purposes, whether the authorities have plans to enhance the fire service facilities of the flatted factory estates under HA, so that the relevant organizations may rent the units on lower floors of such estates for purposes such as performances, arts education, leisure and sports activities and sports training; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
There are six factory estates (note) under the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA), providing manufacturers of light industries with small-sized units for industrial purposes. The market demand for such small-sized units is persistent and strong. The occupancy rate has all along been maintaining at a high level. During the three years from early-October 2014 to end-September 2017, the yearly average occupancy rates of HA's factory estates have been over 99 per cent. There are about 3 330 tenants at present.
The trades operated by tenants of HA's factory estates can be classified into 12 general categories, which are mainly relating to light industries such as the manufacturing, repair and production of equipment and products. The number of tenants by categories of trades as at end-September 2017 is listed at Annex. HA has not let any units of its factory estates to tenants who are operating for non-industrial purposes relating to cultural, arts or sports activities.
Regarding the conversion of industrial buildings for non-industrial purposes, HA is aware that the Government is continuing to study the possibility of facilitating the conversion of the lower floors of some industrial buildings for non-industrial purposes. In considering whether industrial buildings can be used for non-industrial purposes, one of the most important considerations is whether the relevant measures would constitute significant safety risk, especially when industrial activities taking place in industrial buildings carry a much higher risk of fire and other accidents (such as leakage of dangerous goods) than commercial and other activities. Therefore, whether the lower floors of industrial buildings can be converted for non-industrial purposes is subject to fire safety and building safety requirements. HA will closely monitor the outcome of the Government's study.
As the occupancy rate of small-sized units of HA's factory estates has been maintaining at a high level, and vacant units are very limited and not concentrated at specific floors or locations, HA does not have any plan to convert or let its factory estates out for non-industrial purposes at this juncture.
Note: Including Chun Shing Factory Estate, Kwai On Factory Estate, Wang Cheong Factory Estate, Hoi Tai Factory Estate, Sui Fai Factory Estate and Yip On Factory Estate, located in Kwai Chung, Cheung Sha Wan, Tuen Mun, Shatin and Kowloon Bay.
Ends/Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Issued at HKT 12:45
Issued at HKT 12:45