LCQ10: Vacant school premises
Following is a question by the Hon Albert Ho and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (June 13):
In reply to a question of this Council on February 15 this year, the Government indicated that, among the premises of 86 primary schools and 15 secondary schools that had become vacant from 2004-2005 to 2011-2012 school years, 49 of them are considered not suitable for further educational uses, and therefore have already been or will be returned to the relevant government departments for disposal. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) among the premises of the aforesaid 49 schools, of those premises that have been and those that have not been returned to the relevant government departments for disposal at present; of the anticipated time by which all such premises can be returned to the departments for disposal;
(b) of the names of the aforesaid 49 schools, and list them by the number of years they had become vacant (i.e. five years or less, more than five years to ten years, and more than 10 years); further, list the detailed addresses of such schools, site area and planned uses of such premises by the 18 District Council districts (districts); and
(c) whether the authorities have reviewed if the sites released by the aforesaid 49 schools that had become vacant are suitable for housing development; if they have, of the outcome; if not, whether they will conduct such a review; if they will, of the anticipated time by which the outcome of the review will be released; the anticipated time by which housing development can be carried out on those suitable sites, and the respective numbers of public and private housing units that can be constructed, together with a breakdown of the locations of the sites and the numbers of units by district?
In accordance with the existing mechanism for reviewing vacant school premises, whenever the Education Bureau (EDB) determines that a vacant school premise is no longer required for further educational use and intends to return or transfer it to other government department(s), the Planning Department (PlanD) will review the long-term use of that site. According to EDB, among the 86 primary schools closed under the policy on "Consolidation of Under-utilised Primary Schools" and another 15 secondary schools closed from 2004/05 to 2011/12 school years, 49 premises are considered not suitable for further educational uses because of their small sizes and remote locations. The EDB has informed PlanD that these 49 premises are not suitable for further educational use and would return them to the relevant government departments for consideration for other uses under the prevailing established arrangement.
Our reply to the three-part question is as follows:
(a) Most of these 49 premises have already been returned to the relevant government departments in accordance with the corresponding lease conditions and established policy for other uses. For individual premises on Government land allocated to EDB, according to the prevailing terms and conditions for use of the sites, EDB will hand over the premises to the next user department upon approval by relevant government departments for the future use of the premises concerned.
(b) and (c) A breakdown of the vacant school premises by district and by the year in which the schools ceased operation is at Annex I. The relevant breakdown by district, address and site area is set out at Annex II. PlanD is reviewing the land uses of the vacant school premises in consultation with relevant departments. In so doing, it will take into account the situations and environments of the districts concerned, ancillary transport facilities as well as other relevant factors in assessing whether the vacant school premises are suitable for Government, Institution and Community (GIC) facilities or other uses (including residential development) so as to ensure optimal land use. As the vacant school sites are mainly located in remote areas of the New Territories or outlying islands, with small developable site sizes, lack supporting facilities (such as roadways) or involve historic buildings worthy of preservation, it is likely that they are more suitable to be retained for GIC uses (such as rural amenities). Nevertheless, we will also examine whether there are any vacant school sites that are suitable for residential or village-type development.
Ends/Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Issued at HKT 16:31