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LCQ10: North East New Territories New Development Areas

     Following is a question by the Hon Chan Hak-kan and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Mak Chai-kwong, in the Legislative Council today (July 11):


     Last month, the Development Bureau launched the Stage Three Public Engagement Exercise for the North East New Territories New Development Areas Planning and Engineering Study and rolled out the Recommended Outline Development Plans for the three New Development Areas (NDAs) of Kwu Tung North, Fanling North and Ping Che/Ta Kwu Ling.  However, when being asked by the media last month, the former Secretary for Development disclosed that after making reference to the past experience in new town development, it was decided that the percentage of the number of public rental housing (PRH) units in the total number of residential units in a new town could not exceed 50% in the future.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the order of development of the three aforesaid NDAs according to the existing timeframe; the respective years of intake for the PRH and private residential units in these districts;

(b) of the standards or research findings to which the authorities have made reference in setting the indicator that the percentage of PRH units in a new town cannot exceed 50% in the future; whether such indicator will affect the quantity and timeframe of PRH supply in the future;

(c) whether any land has been reserved for constructing Home Ownership Scheme flats in the aforesaid three NDAs; if so, of the estimated number of units to be supplied and the timeframe of the supply; if not, the reasons for that;

(d) given the proposal of developing the Kwu Tung railway station as the centre of development under the Kwu Tung North planning, of the respective estimated timeframe for launching the design and construction of this spur line as well as its commissioning; whether the construction of this spur line will commence earlier to avoid inadequacy in transportation to other districts and ancillary facilities for residents when they move in one after another;

(e) given the proximity of the Fanling North development projects to a number of existing large-scale residential estates, of the ways to mitigate the nuisances caused to nearby residents during the construction periods;

(f) of the anticipated impact of the Fanling North development projects on the passenger throughput at Sheung Shui and Fanling MTR stations; whether it will consider providing additional transport and ancillary facilities from Sheung Shui and Fanling to the urban area or expanding these two MTR stations; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(g) whether it will also improve the water quality of Ng Tung River and beautify both sides of the river during the development of Fanling North; if it will, of the details;

(h) of the reasons for proposing not to reserve any land in the Ping Che/Ta Kwu Ling NDA for the construction of PRH;

(i) given the development theme of "Quality Business/Residential Area" adopted for the Ping Che/Ta Kwu Ling NDA and the reservation of land for "Special Industry" use in the area, of the types of industries expected to move into the area and the economic benefits to be brought by them; and

(j) given that there are quite a number of private land lots in the aforesaid three NDAs, whether the authorities will adopt any new approach in handling relevant land disputes and compensation; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     The objective of implementing the New Development Areas (NDAs) is to cope with the growing population and to address the long-term housing and economic development needs of Hong Kong.  The Civil Engineering and Development Department and the Planning Department are carrying out the North East New Territories New Development Areas Planning and Engineering Study (the NENT NDAs Study) to establish a planning and development framework for the three NDAs, namely Kwu Tung North (KTN), Fanling North (FLN) and Ping Che/Ta Kwu Ling (PC/TKL), and to prepare development plans and implementation strategy.

     Taking into account the public views collected during the Stage One and Stage Two Public Engagement as well as the findings and recommendations of various technical assessments, the Study Consultants have refined the previous development proposals and formulated the Recommended Outline Development Plans (RODPs).  According to the RODPs, the NDAs will provide a total of about 53,800 new residential units that can accommodate a population of about 151,600.  Overall, some 43% of the new residential units are for public rental housing (PRH) and the remaining 57% for various types of private housing.  The NDAs will create approximately 52,000 new jobs.

     The Stage Three Public Engagement has commenced in mid-June this year and the public are invited to express their views on the RODPs for the three NDAs by the end of August.  Information on the RODPs of the NENT NDAs and the Stage Three Public Engagement has been set out in the discussion paper for the meeting of the Panel on Development on June 28, 2012 (LC Paper No. CB(1)2207/11-12(03)).

     For the various parts of the question, our reply is set out below:

(a) According to the current programme, the intake for the PRH units in the KTN and FLN NDAs is expected to start in 2022 at the earliest.  The site formation works for the private residential sites in these two NDAs are scheduled for completion between 2018 and 2027, and between 2026 and 2028 for the PC/TKL NDA.  The Government will make available these private residential sites in the market in an orderly manner for development.

(b) In the planning of the NDAs, we have carefully considered various factors and aimed at building a socially integrated community.  To tie in with the Study on the NDAs, we had commissioned the University of Hong Kong to conduct an independent study to review the development of Tin Shui Wai New Town and to make relevant recommendations.  The study points out that special regard should be paid to the building of a balanced community and the planning of a balanced housing mix in the planning of the NDAs.  We have also drawn on experience in the development of existing new towns and the views collected during the Stage Two Public Engagement (including the proposal for a balanced development between public and private housing in the NDAs).  We believe that the proposed overall public-private housing mix of 43% : 57% will help achieve a balanced community profile.  The NDAs will provide as many as 23,100 PRH units which are scheduled for completion between 2022 and 2029.

(c) Subject to the results of further studies, we may identify suitable sites from the land designated for private housing in the NDAs for new Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) development.  The exact number and the timetable for the disposal of the new HOS flats are not yet available.

(d) Given the guiding direction proposed in the "Hong Kong Moving Ahead: A Transport Strategy for the Future" that railways should form the backbone of the passenger transport system in Hong Kong, railway will be the main carrier under the external public transport strategy for the KTN NDA.  The current consultancy study on the review and update of the Railway Development Strategy 2000 commissioned by the Highways Department, which is scheduled for completion in early 2013, includes the review on the construction of Kwu Tung Station.  The Government will assess the external traffic and transport needs of the NDA and work out the arrangements for various public transport modes.  Consideration will be given to the construction of the Kwu Tung Station on the existing East Rail Lok Ma Chau Spur Line to cope with the future traffic needs of the NDA.  We will keep pace with the planning and development progress of the NDA to timely design and construct the station for the provision of railway services in Kwu Tung.

(e) In accordance with the requirements stipulated in the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance, we will implement appropriate mitigation measures during the construction period to minimise the nuisance caused to the nearby residents, such as regular activation of the watering system to reduce dust emission and use of quiet equipment and erection of temporary noise barriers, etc. to reduce noise impacts.

(f) The FLN NDA is located near the East Rail Sheung Shui Station and Fanling Station.  We envisage that some of the people commuting to and from this NDA will use the East Rail services through the Sheung Shui Station and Fanling Station.  The MTR Corporation will take account of information relating to the latest planning of the NDA,  implementation arrangements and programme, etc. in assessing the passenger volume brought by the NDA, and adopt appropriate measures to provide the NDA residents with comfortable and reliable railway services.  Besides, the Transport Department will consider increasing appropriate public transport services having regard to population change, local development, prevailing condition of public transport services, passenger volume and passengers' needs, etc.

(g) As there is a lack of sewerage facilities in some parts of the FLN NDA, such facilities will be constructed during the development of the NDA.  This will help improve the water quality of Ng Tung River.  Greening works will also be carried out along the banks of the river by building a continuous riverside promenade.  The planning is set out in the Stage 3 Public Engagement Digest, and the details will be worked out during the project design stage.

(h) In view of the limitation of infrastructure in the PC/TKL NDA and to achieve compatibility with the surrounding rural developments, it is considered not appropriate to develop higher-density PRH in the area.

(i) The 36-hectare Special Industries area in the PC/TKL NDA, which is to capitalise on the NDA's strategic location of being in proximity to Shenzhen and the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point, will provide space for the development of high value-added and non-polluting special industries, including environmental and logistics industries.  These industries, together with other local sectors, will create about 10 700 new jobs in the PC/TKL NDA.  

(j) After careful consideration of the public comments collected during the Stage One and Stage Two Public Engagement, and to ensure that the NDA proposals can be implemented as scheduled, we now plan to adopt the Conventional New Town Approach for the development of the NDAs.  Under this approach, the Government will resume and clear all the private land planned for public works projects, public housing and private developments, carry out site formation works and provide infrastructure before allocating the land for various purposes including disposal of the land planned for private developments in the market.

     The implementation of the NDA proposals will inevitably affect private land. The Government will strive to ensure that the affected parties will be reasonably compensated or rehoused.  We are now reviewing the current compensation and rehousing policy with a view to coming up with a more concrete arrangement before embarking on future major infrastructure projects (e.g. NDAs).

     Furthermore, in response to the request of the affected parties, we have reserved a piece of land of about 3.2 hectares in the KTN NDA for local rehousing of eligible affected households.

Ends/Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Issued at HKT 14:31


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