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LCQ15: Redevelopment and upkeeping of aged public rental housing estates
     Following is a question by the Hon Cheung Kwok-kwan and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Mr Frank Chan Fan, in the Legislative Council today (November 28):


     Some public housing tenants have relayed to me that at present, quite a number of housing estates are over 50 years of age, and the facilities in the estates have fallen into severely aged conditions, with the plot ratios of the sites concerned not yet fully utilized.  They consider that the redevelopment of those estates by the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) can not only improve tenants' living conditions, but also increase the supply of public housing units.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the current age threshold that a housing estate needs to reach before it will be considered for redevelopment by the HA;

(2) of the housing estates in respect of which the redevelopment works were completed within the last decade or are being undertaken at present, and the details of the redevelopment projects concerned (set out in a table by name of housing estate);

(3) of the housing estates with redevelopment value and feasibility confirmed by the HA, and set out the (i) ages, (ii) existing plot ratios, and (iii) permitted maximum plot ratios of such housing estates, in the order of their redevelopment priorities;

(4) of the factors based on which the HA determines the redevelopment priorities of housing estates, and the weightings of the various factors; and

(5) given that Sai Wan Estate has reached 60 years of age, with the problem of concrete spalling found in quite a number of units in the Estate and the lifts and other facilities there being often out of service pending repairs, whether the HA has considered redeveloping Sai Wan Estate; if not, of the reasons for that; if so, the timetable, and whether the nearby public housing estate at Ka Wai Man Road, which is under construction, will be used as the reception housing estate for rehousing the tenants of Sai Wan Estate; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     My consolidated reply to the question raised by the Hon Cheung Kwok-kwan is set out below:

     The Long Term Housing Strategy (LTHS) has explained that while redevelopment may increase the supply of public rental housing (PRH) over the long term, it will, in the short term, reduce PRH stock available for allocation.  This will inevitably add further pressure on the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA)'s ability in maintaining the average waiting time (AWT) target at about three years.  The net gain in flat supply from redevelopment will take a long time to realise, and very often towards the latter if not the last phase of the redevelopment.  With the current strong demand for PRH, it is not advisable to carry out massive redevelopment programme which will result in freezing a large number of PRH units that may otherwise be allocated to households in need of PRH, and resulting in an immediate adverse impact on the AWT for PRH.  Hence, redevelopment could at best serve as a supplementary source of PRH supply.  The HA needs to be very cautious in considering redevelopment of individual aged PRH estates.

     Based on the directions set out in the LTHS, the HA will continue to prudently consider redevelopment of individual aged PRH estates, taking into account the actual circumstances, and with reference to the four basic principles under the HA's "Refined Policy on Redevelopment of Aged PRH Estates" formulated in 2011, namely, structural conditions of buildings, cost-effectiveness of repair works, availability of suitable rehousing resources in the vicinity of the estates to be redeveloped, and build-back potential upon redevelopment.

     For aged PRH estates with no confirmed redevelopment plan, the HA will continue to implement various programmes and measures to upkeep and improve the building conditions, and provide residents with a safe and comfortable living environment.  These include the Comprehensive Structural Investigation Programme (CSIP), the Estate Improvement Programme (EIP), the Total Maintenance Scheme (TMS), provision of barrier-free accesses and replacement and addition of lifts. 

     Under the CSIP, the HA conducts assessments on PRH estates once every 15 years.  For estates with assessment completed and found able to be further sustained, the HA will carry out the required structural repair works.  Furthermore, the HA has been improving the living environment and renovating the facilities of the aged estates through the EIP, including upgrading recreational facilities, renovating building exteriors and estate common areas, enhancing landscape and greening, etc.  The HA has also been proactively providing tenants with in-flat inspections and necessary maintenance services through the TMS.  At present, the HA has already installed various types of barrier-free facilities in all its PRH estates, and has been gradually replacing aged lifts in PRH estates, and whenever practicable, retrofitting lift entrances on floors without lift access.

     The HA all along spares no efforts in closely liaising with the relevant bureaux and government departments in identifying suitable sites for public housing development in different districts, and explore whether there is suitable and feasible vacant land within or in the vicinity of existing PRH estates for construction of additional buildings or facilities required by the community, such as lift towers. 

     The PRH estates redeveloped in the past ten years and currently under redevelopment by the HA are listed in Annex.  In addition, the HA has approved the redevelopment of Phases 12 and 13 of Pak Tin Estate (older part) and Mei Tung Estate (older part).  In 2014, the Government also announced its intention to redevelop Wah Fu Estate.

     Many of the PRH estates developed in early years were planned with reference to the population density or the number of flats (instead of plot ratio or permissible floor area).  Alteration and addition works were also carried out in individual estates after intake.  The actual plot ratio of any such estate will need to be determined on the basis of the latest planning standards and the Buildings Ordinance.  Therefore, the HA does not keep records of the prevailing plot ratio of the relevant estates.

     Pak Tin Estate (older part) under redevelopment was completed between 1975 and 1979.  The plot ratio of Pak Tin Estate before redevelopment was about 4.  Pak Tin Estate (older part) is located in a "Residential (Group A)" ("R(A)") zone under the Approved Shek Kip Mei Outline Zoning Plan (OZP).  The maximum permissible domestic/total plot ratio is 7.5/9 and the maximum Building Height Restriction (BHR) are 100 metres above Principal Datum (mPD) and 120 mPD.

     Mei Tung Estate (older part) was completed between 1974 and 1983.  Population density (instead of plot ratio or permissible floor area) was used as the planning basis at that time.  At present, about 665 flats are provided at Mei Tung Estate (older part).  The HA announced the redevelopment of Mei Tung Estate (older part) in 2017 but the detailed arrangement of the redevelopment plan has yet been confirmed.  Mei Tung Estate (older part) is located in a "R(A)" zone under the Approved Wang Tau Hom and Tung Tau OZP.  The maximum permissible domestic/total plot ratio is 7.5/9 and the maximum BHR are 60 mPD and 80 mPD.

     Wah Fu Estate was completed between 1967 and 1978.  At that time, the development scale was based on the number of flats (instead of plot ratio).  At present, Wah Fu Estate provides about 9 200 residential units.  The estate is located in a "R(A)" zone on the approved Pok Fu Lam OZP.  Although the OZP has no restriction on the maximum domestic plot ratio/total plot ratio or maximum building height on Wah Fu Estate, the development scale of the site is subject to the administrative moratorium on development in Pokfulam.  Details of the redevelopment plan have yet been confirmed.

     As regards questions on Sai Wan Estate, based on the principles of redevelopment of aged PRH estates as mentioned above, the HA currently has no redevelopment programme for this estate.  However, during the planning and design of the nearby public housing development at Ka Wai Man Road, the HA will consider the implications should Sai Wan Estate be required to be redeveloped in future.

     Furthermore, the HA will continue to implement various programmes and measures in Sai Wan Estate to upkeep and improve the building conditions, and provide tenants with a safe and comfortable living environment.  As mentioned above, the HA will proactively provide residents of Sai Wan Estate with in-flat inspections and necessary repair/maintenance services through the TMS.  If residents find concrete spalling in their units, the HA will carry out repair works timely through Responsive In-flat Maintenance Services.  The HA will also carry out routine checking and maintenance services for lifts and other facilities, including an annual Lift Condition Appraisal/Refurbishment Survey to evaluate the operating conditions and the necessity of lift refurbishment works.
Ends/Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Issued at HKT 13:55
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