Land Supply tops the policy agenda of the current-term Government. Under the policy direction of Government-led land use planning and co-ordination of infrastructure development, we have made bold decisions to develop land for housing construction and economic development. The Government announced its full acceptance early last year of the recommendations submitted by the Task Force on Land Supply and is taking forward the eight land supply options recommended for priority studies and implementation in full swing. Under the Government's multi-pronged land supply strategy, we have identified 330 hectares of land to provide 316 000 public housing units to meet the housing demand in the coming ten years (i.e. 2021/22 to 2030/31) based on the Long Term Housing Strategy. Such land supply mainly comes from reclamation in Tung Chung, the agricultural land and brownfield sites in New Development Areas (NDAs) such as Kwu Tung North (KTN)/Fanling North (FLN) and Hung Shui Kiu (HSK)/Ha Tsuen (HT), a number of sites which have been rezoned for public housing development, re-allocation of nine sites at Kai Tak and Anderson Road Quarry for public housing development, partial development of the Fanling Golf Course and a number of brownfield clusters with housing development potential, the review of which has already been completed.
In addition, the Northwest New Territories and New Territories North (NTN) have huge development potential. As transport infrastructure plays an important role in unleashing the development potential of land and increasing land and housing supply, the Government will step up efforts to implement the Northern Link railway project to tie in with the population intake of the public housing development in KTN NDA, and also to provide impetus for the growth of the area covering San Tin, Ngau Tam Mei and Au Tau. So far, the Government has identified housing sites with a total area of about 90 hectares (the area equal to four Taikoo Shings) along the Northern Link alignment, including the San Tin/Lok Ma Chau Development Node (STLMC DN), and related studies are being conducted progressively. With the implementation of the Northern Link project, it is anticipated that over 70 000 housing units can be built on these sites.
In May 2019, we received the support of the Public Works Subcommittee of the Legislative Council (LegCo) for the studies related to artificial islands in the Central Water and are awaiting LegCo Finance Committee's approval to the funding application. In respect of the suggestion on partial resumption of the Fanling Golf Course site mainly for public housing development, we have commenced the study to ascertain the highest flat yield attainable in the short to medium term and the relevant supporting infrastructure, as well as to conduct technical assessments on traffic and environmental impact, etc. To expedite the implementation of the NTN NDA, we have carried out the study on the first phase development covering the STLMC DN, which is almost completed. The Government will consult the relevant stakeholders on the preliminary land uses in early 2021, then submit funding application to the LegCo. If funding is approved, we would commence the remaining study and detailed design for the STLMC DN in the latter half of 2021 and strive to commence early the planning and engineering study for the remaining two zones in the NTN NDA (i.e. the NTN New Town and Man Kam To Logistics Corridor) in 2021.
We will intensify the Government-led planning efforts, including invoking the Lands Resumption Ordinance (Cap. 124) and other applicable ordinances1 to resume the private land involved for development of public housing and related facilities and compress the time needed for taking forward the studies and other subsequent processes -
Following the Government's launch of the three-year Land Sharing Pilot Scheme in May this year, the Land Sharing Office (LSO) set up under DEVB has received quite a number of enquiries involving some ten development projects mainly located in the New Territories. The LSO has embarked on initial discussions with relevant interested land owners to deliberate technical issues pertinent to readying the formal submissions. Announcement would be made upon receipt of formal applications.
The 2018 Policy Address announced a number of initiatives to revitalise industrial buildings (IBs). Among them, the increase of the maximum permissible plot ratio by 20% for redevelopment of old IBs (i.e. pre-1987 IBs) was well received. As of end-September, the Town Planning Board has approved more than 30 applications for redevelopment of IBs, the completion of which may supply approximately 600 000 square metres of new floor space for commercial or industrial use. These land owners have been approaching the Lands Department (LandsD) for lease modification.
The negotiation of land premium payable for lease modifications generally takes time, which may not be conducive to the Government's policy objective of encouraging revitalisation of old IBs. To expedite the work, we will introduce a pilot scheme for charging land premium at "standard rates" for lease modification applications for redevelopment of the aforementioned pre-1987 IBs. Through formulating and promulgating in advance "standard rates" for premium assessment, the scheme will allow the industry to have a better grasp of the cost of lease modification and expedite the completion of lease modification procedures. We hope that the scheme will incentivise the redevelopment of more IBs into appropriate and safe commercial and residential floor space. Details of the new scheme are being worked out. We plan to introduce it in early 2021.
Regarding cavern development, the investigation and design study for relocating Diamond Hill Fresh Water and Salt Water Service Reservoirs to caverns is actively underway. Construction of the stage 1 works for the re-location of Sha Tin Sewage Treatment Works to caverns is in progress. At the same time, we will prepare for commencing its stage 2 works in this LegCo session. Besides that, we have established the feasibility of relocating the Public Works Central Laboratory in Kowloon Bay to caverns and will kick off the next stage of investigation and design by the middle of next year. We will also substantially complete the feasibility studies on relocation of several fresh water/salt water service reservoirs located in Tsuen Wan and Yau Tong to caverns soon, and are taking forward the pilot planning and engineering feasibility study on development of selected strategic cavern areas at Lantau, Tsing Yi and other suitable locations.
We are progressively taking forward various short and medium to long term initiatives about development and conservation of Lantau. While increasing land supply for housing and economic development, we in parallel strengthen conservation efforts and enhance the leisure and recreational facilities of Lantau.
For short-term measures, we will continue to implement the Tung Chung New Town Extension (TCNTE) project on North Lantau. The relevant reclamation works are being carried out as scheduled and the first parcel of land formed by reclamation was delivered to the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HKHA) for public housing development in March this year. Besides, we will adopt city concepts that are smart, green and resilient to environment and climate in the TCNTE for their first trial. The relevant initiatives will be implemented in tandem with the infrastructure works of the project.
The implementation of the TCNTE project is in good progress. The relevant reclamation works are being carried out as scheduled and the first two batches of reclaimed land were handed over to HKHA in March and October 2020 respectively for public housing development, and a total of 10 000 public housing units are expected to be provided in 2024. We will also introduce a number of city facilities in the TCNTE Project, including electric vehicle charging facilities, water intelligent network and automatic meter reading system for water consumption, and construct common utility tunnels under the major roads to minimise inconvenience caused by excavation of the major roads due to maintenance of public utilities.
The Siu Ho Wan Depot Site is around 30-hectare large, currently held by MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) for use as a railway workshop and maintenance depot. DEVB has been exploring with MTRCL to unlock the development potential of the Site. We have formulated the Outline Zoning Plan for the development of the Site. Based on the latest assessment, the Site may provide about 20 000 residential units in the medium to long term, of which around 50% will be public housing (the current plan is mainly subsidised sale flats), forming a new community with public and private housing, various kinds of community facilities, and also a new railway station on the Tung Chung Line. This is the second project providing public housing on railway facilities since the Kornhill development on the Island Line four decades ago in the 1980s, demonstrating the current-term Government's determination in increasing public housing supply.
The implementation of property development at such a large scale railway facility involves in-situ reconfiguration of the existing facilities and construction of housing blocks, while maintaining the operation of the depot and railway unaffected. The works are technically challenging, and takes time. The whole development is preliminarily estimated to span across 15 to 20 years, to be completed by phase. The target is that the first some 6 000 public and private housing units may start to take in residents gradually beginning from 2030.
On the conservation as well as leisure and recreation fronts, an ecological study that involves Pui O, Shui Hau, Tai O and the neighbouring areas is anticipated to be completed by the first quarter of next year. There are two cultural and historical studies with focus on rural villages at Lantau, commenced in November last year and October this year respectively. Furthermore, the Lantau Conservation Fund has been established and planned to receive applications this December. The Fund covers a wide variety of conservation initiatives, including nature and cultural conservation, village revitalisation, research, environmental education and community engagement. Besides, we commissioned a study in July this year to investigate the enhancements to trails and connectivity in Lantau with an aim to improve the current and construct new trails in a sustainable manner as well as to develop a round-the-Lantau trail linking up various attractive points in Lantau. Furthermore, we will consult the LegCo Panel on Development in the coming year on proposal to amend the Town Planning Ordinance (Cap. 131) to better protect rural areas of high ecological values that are subject to development pressure.
In terms of medium-to-long term measures, the development of the artificial islands in the Central Waters can bring enormous social benefits to the future of Hong Kong, which include increasing the supply of public housing, easing traffic congestion and providing more job opportunities, etc. We will continue to strive for the early commencement of the studies related to the artificial islands in the Central Waters with a view to meeting the needs for the sustainable development of Hong Kong. In parallel, we will continue our efforts in explaining the project objectives and direction of the technical studies to the general public. We will also communicate with various professionals and youths through diverse channels to exchange views on the opportunities regarding the development of artificial islands plus the formulation of measures for the artificial islands in the areas of urban design, land use as well as smart, environment-friendly and sustainable development. Besides, we will continue to prepare for conducting the planning and engineering study on the development potential of 220 hectares of reclaimed land at Lung Kwu Tan and about 220 hectares of coastal area at Tuen Mun West as well as the engineering study on Road P1 (Tai Ho - Sunny Bay Section).
To fully utilise the permissible plot ratios of land and to increase housing supply, the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) commenced two pilot projects on 22 May 2020 to redevelop two clusters of Civil Servants' Co-operative Building Society Scheme lots in Kowloon City. After redevelopment, the total number of flats is estimated to be about five times the existing number (from about 600 to 3 000), with about one-third (1 000 units) for subsidised housing.
In 2019, the Government entrusted URA with a new mission to provide more Starter Homes or other types of Subsidised Sale Flats in its redevelopment projects. URA has proactively embarked on its new mission and opened application for the remaining 43 units from eResidence at Ma Tau Wai Road, URA's Starter Homes pilot project2, in November 2020. It has also decided to assign the redevelopment project adjacent to the eResidence as another Starter Homes project, which is expected to provide about 260 units for sale in 2024.
The Yau Mong District Study, which commenced in 2017, is a strategic planning study aiming at a district-based renewal approach. The study comprises baseline reviews, examination of opportunities and constraints, formulation of Urban Renewal Opportunity Areas as well as the institutional and implementation strategy. New planning tools and development nodes are being explored. Apart from redevelopment, the unique characteristics and vibrancy of character streets in Yau Mong District will be preserved, revitalised and sustained through appropriate place-making strategy. URA is devising different scenarios under the draft Master Renewal Concept Plans and identifying early projects for piloting new planning tools. URA will consult stakeholders on their findings and recommendations after concluding the study in early 2021.
The Government will invite the HKHA and the HKHS to explore providing about 5% of the total gross floor area in future public housing projects for the provision of social welfare facilities. If this proposal is implemented, appropriate welfare facilities can be provided sustainably to meet the needs of society. We will discuss the implementation details together with Transport and Housing Bureau and Labour and Welfare Bureau as soon as possible with a view to ensuring that the measure will not impact on the public housing supply and other supporting facilities.
The Steering Group on Streamlining Development Control set up under DEVB continued our efforts on streamlining development control exercised by the three departments under the Planning and Lands Branch of DEVB (namely Buildings Department (BD), LandsD and PlanD). In the past two years, we have already promulgated streamlining measures covering seven control parameters, including the building height restriction, landscape requirement and design and height clause under lease. Land development does not only involve the approval process of these three departments. We will expand the composition and remit of the Steering Group, so as to engage vetting departments other than those under DEVB, with a view to reviewing more comprehensively the development approval process in every aspect, and to rationalise the development-related requirements imposed by various bureaux, such as reviewing whether the technical assessment requirements are clear and suitable.
Development projects of the private sector play a considerable role in meeting housing needs of the society. To this end, DEVB will set up a Development Projects Facilitation Office (DPFO) to facilitate the processing of planning, lease modification and building plan applications, etc. for larger-scale private residential development projects (providing a flat yield of over 500) leading up to the commencement of works. The purpose is to ensure smooth processing of development applications in order to avoid delays and expedite housing supply. Specifically, the work of DPFO include:
The relevant bureaux and departments will each nominate a dedicated officer at Assistant Director level or above who shall work closely with DPFO with the common objective of expediting the processing of development applications and increasing housing supply.
1 Such as the Roads (Works, Use and Compensation) Ordinance (Cap. 370)
2 URA first launched the sale of 450 units of eResidence in January 2019.