Lantau Tomorrow Vision

With the commissioning of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and having the Hong Kong International Airport, Lantau will become a "Double Gateway" connecting Hong Kong to other cities of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the world. In order to capitalise on the competitive advantages of attracting talents and promoting economic development, the Government has formulated the "Lantau Tomorrow Vision". With due regard to conservation, we will progressively press ahead the development areas at Lantau and the coastal areas of Tuen Mun with the objective of consolidating the sustainable development of Hong Kong.

To unleash the development potential of existing land, the statutory planning process for the topside development at the Siu Ho Wan Depot Site was launched early this year. The site is estimated to provide no less than 14 000 residential units in the medium to long run. We hope to develop this site into a community with subsidised and private housing as well as community facilities. We will continue to follow up with MTRCL on various details.

Apart from developing existing land resources, one of the initiatives of the Lantau Tomorrow Vision is to commence the study on the phased reclamation for formation of artificial islands in the Central Waters, where are relatively less ecologically sensitive, as soon as possible to provide land reserve to meeting the long-term housing, economic and employment needs. Newly formed land reserve can be used for renewal of old districts, thinning out the existing densely populated urban areas and improving the living environment. According to the preliminary technical assessment, some artificial islands with a total area of about 1 700 hectares can be constructed in phases near Kau Yi Chau and Hei Ling Chau. We roughly estimate that the artificial islands can accommodate about 260 000 to 400 000 housing units, with 70% as public housing, for a population of about 700 000 to 1.1 million, and with the first phase of housing units to be occupied in 2032. Leveraging on the locational advantage, we are going to create the third Core Business District on the artificial islands. Together with other developments, we preliminarily estimate that about 340 000 employment opportunities can be provided on the artificial islands.

To complement the phased development of the artificial islands in the Central Waters, we give priority to the construction of a set of new strategic road and railway networks to link up the artificial islands near Kau Yi Chau, Hong Kong Island West, North Lantau and the coastal areas of Tuen Mun. Possible strategic transport corridors will also be reserved for the long-term development. It is expected that the priority strategic roads and railways, which will be connected to existing transport networks, can greatly ease the traffic loading on the West Rail and the Tuen Mun Road as well as improve the transport performance in the Northwest New Territories and the territory.

The connectivity of Tuen Mun will be enhanced by the priority strategic transport networks (including the upgrading of Lung Mun Road). As part of the Lantau Tomorrow Vision, we will take forward the near-shore reclamation at Lung Kwu Tan to provide about 220 hectares of land for industrial and commercial uses, high value-added logistics centres, etc. We will also replan the development sites in Tuen Mun West (including the River Trade Terminal) and Tuen Mun East such that development potential driven by the new transport network can be fully utilised.

The priority strategic transport networks will consist of a new highway running parallel to the North Lantau Highway. Small-scale near-shore reclamation at Siu Ho Wan is required for its construction. Such transport network will further strengthen the “Double Gateway” position of Lantau and benefit the development of North Lantau. We plan to invite the Airport Authority Hong Kong to submit a proposal for the topside development at the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. Together with the Three-runway System, the high value-added logistics centre at the South Cargo Precinct, the SKYCITY development and the future plan for the AsiaWorld-Expo, the Hong Kong International Airport would become an Aerotropolis connecting the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the World, thereby strengthening and enhancing Hong Kong's position as an international business centre. In addition, we will continue to take forward the Tung Chung New Town Extension in North Lantau. The concepts of smart, green and resilient city will be promoted, taking the Tung Chung New Town Extension as a pilot. We will also continue the Sunny Bay reclamation for providing land reserve to develop a leisure and entertainment node and other uses.

In pursuing development projects, we are committed to protecting the valuable natural and rural environment of Lantau to achieve sustainable development. Adhering to the planning principle of "Development in the North; Conservation for the South” and the policy of “Conservation to precede Developments”, conservation measures will be implemented to enhance the environment capacity while carrying forward infrastructures and development projects. A $1 billion Lantau Conservation Fund will be set up to carry out nature and cultural conservation as well as local improvement works for Lantau. Currently, we are conducting an ecological study on Pui O, Shui Hau, Tai O and neighbouring areas. Based on the study results, suitable and practicable conservation proposals will be formulated. We also plan to review relevant legislation and map out more effective means to control land filling, dumping of wastes and associated development activities causing environmental damage in areas of high ecological values at Lantau with a view to enhancing protection of the natural beauty of these areas. In the area of leisure and entertainment, we are implementing in phases the Lantau Trails and Recreation Plan to build a network of walking trails and link up heritage, ecological and recreational hotspots where possible to offer diversified sustainable leisure experience as well as to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Developing Brownfield Sites in the New Territories

Developing brownfield sites has always been an important part of our land supply strategy. Covered in the New Development Areas (NDAs) projects under planning and implementation, including those in Kwu Tung North/Fanling North, Hung Shui Kiu, and Yuen Long South, are about 340 hectares of brownfield sites. In view of the strong public aspiration that brownfield sites should be developed to boost housing supply and improve rural planning, we will advance the study covering about 200 hectares of brownfield sites in New Territories North. We will also initiate a study on the remaining 760 hectares of scattered brownfield sites to identify those with greater development potential. As many brownfield sites are now used for port back-up, logistics operations, recycling workshops, and storage of construction machinery and building materials, etc., we need to consider how these existing operations can be handled or relocated in light of the needs of economic development. Meanwhile, we expect to complete two ongoing studies on brownfield operations this year, with a view to formulating relevant policy strategies and implementation measures.

Land Sharing Pilot Scheme

It is Government’s long-established policy that where private land is covered by Government’s plans for public housing development or provision of infrastructure facilities, we will continue to resume the private land concerned pursuant to the Land Resumption Ordinance. To make better use of those privately owned land parcels not covered in Government’s planned development and unleash earlier their development potential, we will start to draw up a framework for a Land Sharing Pilot Scheme (LSPS) that is based on fairness and high transparency, so as to meet the needs for both public and private housing in the short to medium term. We hope to be ready with the details of this framework to support the introduction of the pilot scheme next year, after making reference to the final report of the Task Force on Land Supply. The framework is expected to entail the following key elements:

  1. The Government will openly invite land sharing applications. Applicants are required to explain clearly in their proposals how the private land parcels they hold could, in the short to medium term, bring about substantial increase in housing flats through means such as enhancing infrastructure, increasing plot ratio, changing land uses, etc.. The increased floor areas will be shared between the Government and applicants, among which not less than 60% to 70% have to be used for public housing development, mainly subsidised sale flats. The types of public housing to be provided will depend on factors like subsidised housing policies, site location and provision of ancillary facilities;
  2. Applicants should comply with all applicable statutory procedures and land administration regimes, including submitting to the Town Planning Board (TPB) rezoning or planning applications and paying to the Government land premium at full market value in respect of lease modifications for the private housing and ancillary commercial facilities in the development;
  3. To take advantage of the efficiency of the private sector and expedite development, applicants will be responsible for building infrastructure facilities which can support the development concerned or even benefit the local community. Subject to assessment by the Government on cost effectiveness, the relevant cost will be deducted from land premium. If the infrastructure facilities encroach onto private land, the Government may consider, on the basis of public interest and in line with established arrangements, resuming the land for the provision of such facilities; and
  4. The application mechanism must be fair, open and transparent, allowing participation by all eligible private land owners. A set of transparent criteria and procedures must also be put in place for processing applications and selecting suitable projects. In addition, information of the pilot scheme must be released in a timely and transparent manner so as to dispel public worries. In this connection, applications will be put before the Land and Development Advisory Committee which comprises mostly non-official members for advice, and eventually submitted to the Chief Executive in Council for approval.

We also intend to set a time limit and a cap on the area to be handled for the pilot scheme, so that the Government may process projects that are most effective in the short and medium term.

Revitalising Industrial Buildings

After reviewing the effectiveness of the previous scheme launched between 2010 and 2016, we have decided to reactivate the revitalisation scheme for industrial buildings.

The scheme will include the following measures:

  1. Lands Department will accept owners’ applications, on a three-year time-limited basis, and exempt the waiver fees incurred, for wholesale conversion of industrial buildings aged 15 years or above in “Commercial” (C), “Other Specified Uses” annotated “Business” (OU(B)) and “Industrial” (I) zones into uses permitted under the relevant statutory Outline Zoning Plan. Compared with the previous scheme, there will be an additional new condition that the applicants should designate 10% of the floor area for specific uses prescribed by the Government upon completion of the wholesale conversion.
  2. To encourage owners to redevelop industrial buildings constructed before 1987, we will extend the application of the present planning policy about suitably increasing the maximum permissible domestic plot ratio within certain “Residential” (R) zones, so as to allow relaxation of the maximum permissible non-domestic plot ratio by up to 20% for redevelopment of these pre-1987 industrial buildings located outside “R” zones in Main Urban Areas and New Towns. Individual applications have to be made to TPB within three years, and the modified lease should be executed within a specified period after the town planning approval; and

    As the above measures (i) and (ii) would also be applicable to industrial buildings located in “I” zones, owners who are keen to support industrial development can also convert or redevelop such aged industrial buildings to support industrial operations permitted in “I” zones.
  3. We will allow revitalisation of industrial buildings (with no building age limit) to provide transitional housing. In practice, the Government will exercise flexibility in the application of planning and building design requirements, and charge a nil waiver fee for the specific use of transitional housing, if owners provide transitional housing in portions or entire blocks of industrial buildings located in “C”, “Comprehensive Development Area”, “OU(B)” and “R” zones which have already undergone or will pursue wholesale conversion into non-industrial uses. We would encourage owners to collaborate with non-government institutions to provide transitional housing, so as to provide more suitable accommodation for those yet to be allocated public rental housing or other grassroots citizens with housing needs. A task force under the Transport and Housing Bureau will provide one-stop, co-ordinated support to facilitate the community in pursuing transitional housing.

Owing to multiple ownership of some industrial buildings, owners may not be able to reach a consensus in the immediate future over wholesale conversion or redevelopment of the buildings. As such, we will also introduce the following measures to optimise the use of existing industrial buildings:

  1. relaxing the waiver application policy on a time-limited basis (for five years initially) to permit the arts and cultural sectors and creative industries to operate at individual units of existing industrial buildings without the need for making separate waiver applications and paying waiver fees, so long as such uses are permitted under the planning regime. Subject to policy support, more uses currently permitted under the planning regime may be covered under this relaxation of the waiver application policy;
  2. with due regard to public safety, widening the permissible uses of buffer floors to cover telecommunications exchange centres and computer/data processing centres, so as to facilitate conversion of lower floors of industrial buildings into non-industrial uses; and
  3. promulgating a wider definition for “godown” uses under lease provisions of industrial buildings to cover cargo handling and forwarding operations and recyclable collection centres.

DEVB will announce the specific details of the above measures in due course, and launch the measures progressively by the end of this year.

Redevelopment of Buildings under the Civil Servants’ Co-operative Building Society Scheme

At present, around 60% of buildings developed under the Civil Servants’ Co-operative Building Society Scheme (CBS) are zoned as “Residential (A)”, and are clustered in high-density development areas in urban districts. Some of these buildings have not fully utilised the permissible plot ratios and are in the vicinity of public housing estates and their ancillary facilities. Proactively redeveloping such CBS buildings presents the opportunity to fully utilise precious land resources and increase housing supply.

We will invite the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) to identify one to two clusters of CBS lots suitable for high-density development as pilot sites, and to proactively redevelop these sites with a view to bringing planning and social gains and creating positive impacts on the local community. We will request URA to earmark some of the resumed land for public housing development to address community needs.

Subject to the outcome of the planning studies, URA will proceed to acquire the property interests of the identified CBS lots and apply for resumption of land to facilitate redevelopment following established practice for its redevelopment projects. Eligible owner-occupiers who are residing in the CBS flats and affected by URA’s redevelopment projects would be offered cash compensation which is based on the value of a notional seven-year-old replacement flat. For displaced CBS owner-occupiers who have not yet settled the outstanding two-thirds land premium owed to the Government1, we recognise that their choice of replacement flats in the private market may be constrained because a portion of the compensation received by them will need to be used to settle the outstanding land premium. Therefore, as an exceptional arrangement, we propose offering eligible CBS owner-occupiers who have not yet settled the outstanding land premium the opportunity to purchase a subsidised sale flat unit in Dedicated Rehousing Estates to be built and operated by the Hong Kong Housing Society in the urban areas to address their accommodation needs. They will have to comply with other general eligibility criteria applicable to these estates which will be used to provide non-means-tested rehousing to eligible households affected by URA and government development clearance exercises.

Subject to the completion of the planning studies and the approval of the URA Board, URA will submit the implementation proposals to Government in the first half of 2019, with a view to announcing and commencing the pilot projects in the latter half of 2019.

Streamlining Development Control

A steering group has been set up under the Planning and Lands Branch of DEVB to explore how best to consolidate and rationalise the standards and definitions adopted by the relevant departments under the bureau (namely Buildings Department (BD), Lands Department and Planning Department) in scrutinising development proposals, such that the approval process can be streamlined without prejudicing the relevant statutory procedures and technical requirements. We have also set up a joint sub-committee under the Land and Development Advisory Committee as a consultative forum comprising wide representation from the industry to consider the streamlining proposals recommended by the steering group. The joint sub-committee has already been consulted on the first batch of streamlining proposals, which cover building height control, site coverage of greenery requirements and landscape requirements, and is generally supportive of the streamlining proposals. Taking into account the views of members of the joint sub-committee, the Government aims to promulgate the revised streamlined arrangements in a few months’ time. The steering group will continue to review development control parameters by phases in consultation with the joint sub-committee.

To streamline the approval process, BD will develop an Electronic Submission Hub (ESH) which will not only allow the industry to submit building plans and applications electronically, but will also enable relevant authorities to process various kinds of plans and applications via the hub. The target is to start accepting electronic submission of plans and applications by phases from 2021/22. The ESH will also facilitate the industry to adopt Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology in the design and construction of private building developments. It will also help BD to provide more integrated e-counter services to registered building professionals and contractors under the Buildings Ordinance and to the general public at large.

Single site, Multiple use

To better meet the growing community demand for “Government, Institution or Community” (G/IC) facilities, the Government will pursue more vigorously the “single site, multiple use” model in multi-storey development on government land in order to expedite the delivery of such projects and make optimal use of limited land resources. To this end, a package of measures has been devised to strengthen internal coordination and monitoring in taking forward multi-user G/IC complex.

Starting from site planning, Planning Department will tighten up the site reservation and de-reservation arrangements and recommend a higher reference plot ratio for G/IC sites where circumstances permit. For project delivery, the Government Property Agency will play a coordinating role for G/IC building projects involving multi-bureaux facilities; and be responsible for, amongst others, matching joint users and resolving any interface issues with a view to deriving the optimal G/IC mix with due regard to district needs. For instance, the new arrangements will apply to several “G/IC” projects on the drawing board, including redevelopment of Tuen Mun Clinic, development of an ambulance depot near Sheung Wan Fire Station, and consolidation of facilities on several government sites in Tsuen Wan Town Centre.

1 Under the CBS Scheme, the land was granted by the Government at a concessionary premium equivalent to one-third of the full market land value. CBS owner-occupiers are required to pay the outstanding two-thirds land premium owed to the Government before they could freely dispose of their residing units in the open market.