Government releases lists of public facilities in private developments
The Government today (March 28) released lists of private developments in which developers/owners are required under a land lease or a deed of dedication to provide and manage various facilities for the use of the public.
Information compiled by the Lands Department includes a master list of 152 private developments completed since 1997 which are required under land leases to provide various public facilities, such as open spaces, pedestrian passages and walkways, footbridges, public right of way, public car parks, toilets, etc. Public open spaces can be found in 31 of the above-mentioned 152 private developments. In view of public interest in open space, a separate list of public open spaces in these 31 developments, each with location plan and photos, is also provided.
Information compiled by the Buildings Department includes a list of 79 private developments which are required under deeds of dedication to provide specified public facilities. All of these facilities are public passages on private land or areas within private buildings dedicated for public use. The Times Square development is subject to such a deed of dedication but it is almost unique in that the public passage is also required to serve the purpose of a public open space for passive recreation purposes. Several public passages, including the one at Times Square, may also be used for temporary exhibitions and displays if public passage is not obstructed, as provided for under the deed of dedication. Where the erection of temporary structures is involved, prior permission of the Director of Buildings needs to be sought.
The lists are available from the websites of the Development Bureau (http://www.devb.gov.hk/), Lands Department (http://www.landsd.gov.hk/) and Buildings Department (http://www.bd.gov.hk/).
A spokesman for the Development Bureau said that release of the information was intended to ensure that the public could use those public facilities.
"We will update the lists as and when new private developments are completed or new deeds of dedication are entered into by the Government in future. The Lands Department will also retrieve relevant information in respect of private developments completed before 1997 and release this for public reference in due course," the spokesman added.
"The private developments on the lists are grouped by district according to the boundary of District Councils. We will provide the list to all the 18 District Councils and invite them to help monitor the use of those public facilities under their district and to bring to our attention any irregularities.
"Members of the public may also contact the relevant District Lands Office or Buildings Department through the telephone numbers provided in the lists should they wish to obtain more information about the facilities, or to report any non-compliance with the specified uses," the spokesman said.
The spokesman emphasised that owners of the private developments were contractually obliged to comply with the requirements under the land leases or deeds of dedication on the provision and proper management of these public facilities. However, the public should appreciate that, to enable members of the public to better enjoy such facilities, it is only fair to allow owners of the facilities to adopt a set of rules for all users to observe, as long as the rules are reasonable and clear.
The Lands Department and the Buildings Department have written to all the relevant owners, owners' corporations or management companies of those private developments to remind them of the need to comply with the land lease or deed of dedication and suggest ways to facilitate the public use of such facilities by, for example, posting notices in prominent places indicating the locations and opening hours of the facilities, the parties responsible for management and maintenance of the facilities and their contact telephone numbers.
The Development Bureau has also written to the Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong seeking their support and cooperation in reminding their members of the need to ensure that the public facilities are readily accessible to members of the public.
The Lands Department and Buildings Department will conduct spot checks on these facilities to ensure compliance with the requirements under the land leases and deeds of dedication.
Regarding the discussion in the Legislative Council on March 5, 2008, on the provision of public open space at Times Square, Causeway Bay, the spokesman said that the Buildings Department had written to Times Square Limited asking it to provide details of the charges for holding exhibitions or displays in the public open space concerned.
The Buildings Department has also suggested that Times Square Limited adopt the following measures:
(a) displaying notices indicating the use and location of the dedicated area;
(b) providing seating which does not impede public passage for use by the elderly and infirm; and
(c) considering to allow greater usage of the dedicated area for exhibitions and displays by charity or community events.
Ends/Friday, March 28, 2008
Issued at HKT 17:16
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