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LCQ14: Public housing development projects
     Following is a question by the Hon Chan Hak-kan and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Michael Wong, in the Legislative Council today (June 24):

     It is learnt that rezoning sites for housing purpose has been one of the major sources of lands for public housing in recent years. There are comments that different administrative and statutory procedures are involved from the moment that the Government has made a decision to rezone the land use of a site to the moment that the site is spade-ready for housing construction, and the pace of public housing supply will be affected should there be delay in any one of the procedures. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) regarding the various public housing development projects since 2013 which involved land use rezoning, of the respective average time taken to complete the following six development procedures: (i) conducting pre-feasibility study, (ii) carrying out site investigation and design of infrastructure works, (iii) seeking funding approval from the Finance Committee of this Council for the relevant site formation and infrastructure works, (iv) land resumption (if applicable), (v) land clearance, and (vi) carrying out site formation and infrastructure works;

(2) regarding the following projects, of the respective (A) commencement dates/expected commencement dates and (B) completion dates/expected completion dates for the various procedures mentioned in (1) (set out in the table below):
(a) Long Bin (Phase 1),
(b) Long Bin (Phase 2),
(c) Tuen Mun Area 54 Site 4A (South),
(d) Wang Chau (Phase 1),
(e) Wah King Street,
(f) Wah Fu North,
(g) Kai Lung Wan North, Kai Lung Wan South,
(h) Wah Lok Path, Pok Fu Lam,
(i) Ex-Cha Kwo Ling Kaolin Mine Site A and Site B,
(j) Tuen Mun Area 54 Site 5,
(k) Yau Yue Wan Village Road,
(l) Pak Shing Kok Road,
(m) Near Tan Kwai Tsuen (South),
(n) Kai Tak Site 2B3,
(o) Kai Tak Site 2B4,
(p) Kai Tak Site 2B5,
(q) Kai Tak Site 2B6,
(r) Shek Lei Interim Housing,
(s) San Hing Road (Phase 1),
(t) San Hing Road (Phase 2),
(u) Ex-Mount Davis Cottage Area, Ka Wai Man Road (Phase 1), and
(v) Ex-Mount Davis Cottage Area, Ka Wai Man Road (Phase 2);
Project name/
Development procedure
(i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi)
  (A) (B) (A) (B) (A) (B) (A) (B) (A) (B) (A) (B)

(3) whether the Government will, upon the completion of the land use rezoning procedure, forthwith commence the work on land resumption (if necessary); if not, of the procedure(s) to be completed by the Government before such work may commence, and the criteria adopted for determining the appropriate timing for commencing such work;

(4) whether it will formulate a policy to the effect that notice(s) for resumption of land must be published in the Gazette within a specified period of time from the completion of the land use rezoning procedure, so that those persons who will be affected by land resumption may anticipate the time when the Government will resume their land; if not, of the reasons for that; and

(5) as the Government has indicated that it will further simplify and expedite the work process, including compressing the time required for engineering feasibility studies ("EFSs") as far as possible and  speeding up statutory procedures such as land use rezoning upon completion of EFSs, with a view to expediting the implementation of housing development projects, whether the Government (i) has assessed the extent to which the time needed for public housing production can be reduced upon the implementation of the relevant arrangements, and (ii) has formulated quantitative indicators (e.g. the reduction of the time needed for the various development procedures by certain months, or the completion of such procedures within certain months) and monitored if the relevant projects have met the targets; if so, of the details; if not, whether it will consider doing so?

     Having consulted the Transport and Housing Bureau, our response to the various parts of the question is as follows:
(1) & (2) Since 2013, a total of 81 sites have been rezoned for public housing development. In implementing individual public housing projects, the relevant departments (including the Housing Department (HD), the Planning Department (PlanD), the Lands Department (LandsD) and the departments responsible for the associated works) would jointly formulate the development timetables, and would work closely to perform their respective roles in taking forward the relevant works in an orderly manner. That said, as the procedures required and time involved in each project may vary due to the actual situation and technical requirements of the respective projects, it would be difficult to make direct comparisons.
     We do not compile statistics on a continuous basis regarding the average time required for the various preparatory works for public housing sites. As for the public housing development projects mentioned in the question, the commencement and completion dates of the relevant preparatory works are set out in the Annex.
(3) to (5) Generally speaking, upon completion of the land rezoning procedure, the Government will carry out various procedures as required having regard to the actual situation of individual sites, including gazettal of relevant works projects, funding application, land resumption and clearance, site formation and infrastructure works, etc.
     After confirming the scope of development and boundary of land resumption of the project, and having sought funding approval for the project from the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council (LegCo), the Government will commence the statutory land resumption procedures in accordance with the relevant ordinance to affix land resumption notice to revert the land privately owned to the Government, and to clear the structures on the resumed private land and other government land. In the process, the LandsD will process the compensation and rehousing arrangements for land owners and occupiers in accordance with the established policy. In view of the concerns raised by LegCo members, the Government has undertaken in 2018 that, under normal circumstances, the Government will not commence land resumption and clearance until after the funding approval of LegCo has been sought for the relevant works project, unless with the agreement of the relevant LegCo Panel.

     The PlanD has earlier reviewed 160 hectares of brownfield sites and shortlisted eight brownfield clusters suitable for public housing development. The Development Bureau has examined with relevant departments how to further simplify and expedite the workflow for the said brownfield clusters, including compressing the time required for engineering feasibility studies (EFSs) as far as possible, speeding up such statutory procedures as rezoning, gazettal of works and land resumption after completion of EFSs, and pursuing certain procedures concurrently as circumstances would permit. As for these eight brownfield clusters, at this stage, we expect to transform them into "spade-ready sites", through completing EFSs, detailed design, rezoning, land resumption, clearance, land decontamination and site formation works, and hand over the sites to the HD for construction of public housing in about six years (versus at least eight years now in general). We aim at compressing the time needed for production of certain housing units to within 10 years approximately from the commencement of EFS to increase the supply in the short to medium term. Subject to the outcome of the EFS for individual sites and the progress of relevant statutory procedures or construction works, the development lead time may be adjusted in future. At this stage, it is difficult to set the targets of time required for the various development procedures.

     The Government will continue to adopt the multi-pronged strategy in maintaining a steady increase in land supply, and strive to take forward various public housing development projects with a view for their early completion.  
Ends/Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Issued at HKT 16:10
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