LCQ17: Planning standards for car parking spaces, markets and social welfare facilities

Following is a question by the Hon Andrew Wan and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Michael Wong, in the Legislative Council today (June 5):

Regarding the planning standards for car parking spaces, public markets and social welfare facilities in the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (HKPSG), will the Government inform this Council:
(1) as it is learnt that there is a shortage of car parking spaces in some newly completed public housing estates (e.g. On Tai Estate and Hung Fuk Estate) immediately after the intake of residents, whether the Government will amend HKPSG to raise the planning standard for the provision of car parking spaces (especially those parking spaces for commercial vehicles in public housing developments);
(2) as it has been reported that due to a shortage of public markets in new towns such as Tin Shui Wai and Tung Chung, the residents in such districts have to travel to other districts in order to buy food at more affordable prices, whether the Government will amend HKPSG to reinstate a population-based quantitative planning standard for public markets; and
(3) as one of the causes for the current shortage of social welfare facilities in quite a number of districts is that social welfare organisations cannot identify suitable premises for providing such facilities, whether the Government will consider adding to HKPSG the following planning standard: a floor area of not smaller than 0.5 time of the site area of a new development area or a new residential development must be set aside for social welfare facilities?

Relevant policy bureaux would stipulate general planning standards for determining the scale, location and site requirements of various community facilities and infrastructures under their respective purview according to population and other factors. Whilst some facilities adopt quantitative planning standard based on population, some involve a host of consideration factors. The Planning Department (PlanD) would incorporate into the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (HKPSG) the various planning standards covering policy areas led by different policy bureaux. The HKPSG aims to serve as a general reference for the PlanD to reserve land for providing relevant facilities during the planning process. Relevant policy bureaux will formulate, review and amend the respective standards in the HKPSG as appropriate, taking into account society’s development needs and policy consideration.

In consultation with relevant bureaux including the Transport and Housing Bureau (THB) and the Food and Health Bureau (FHB), my reply to various parts of the question is as follows:

(1) According to the THB, in respect of the planning standard for parking spaces, the Transport Department (TD) is conducting a consultancy study on parking for commercial vehicles and will review the respective standards on parking spaces and loading/unloading bays for commercial vehicles in HKPSG.  The TD will also review as part of the consultancy study the existing guidelines on parking of private cars, with a view to updating the respective requirements in HKPSG for the provision of private car parking spaces in housing developments (including public housing developments). In the process, the TD will take into consideration the latest parking policy, utilisation of parking spaces, social and economic factors affecting the growth of private cars, etc., so as to increase the number of private car parking spaces in future housing developments. The aforementioned review is expected to complete in 2019. The TD targets to promulgate the revised guidelines in 2020 after consulting relevant stakeholders.

(2) According to the FHB, the Government will consider development of new public markets on a case-by-case basis, taking into account relevant factors including the demographic mix, community needs, provision of public and private market facilities nearby, and number of fresh provision retail outlets in the vicinity. In the process, the actual situation of individual districts and the views of stakeholders would also be taken into account. The basket of factors, which includes but not limited to population, could allow the Government to assess the local circumstances and the need to improve public market facilities more flexibly. Based on the above considerations, the Government has decided to develop new public markets in areas including Tin Shui Wai and Tung Chung Town Centre. The FHB will assess the need to review the planning guidelines for public markets as and when appropriate in the light of social development and actual situation in the districts.

(3) The proposal to reserve exclusive and uniform floor area for the provision of social welfare facilities in development lots at new development areas and new residential developments is not practicable, as whether individual development could accommodate social welfare facilities and, if so, the types and scale of facilities to be provided cannot be generalised; it would depend on, for example, the planned use, site size, geographical location, development intensity of the site for development. 

For the planned sites for private development, we will identify suitable sites and require developers to provide Government, Institution or Community (GIC) facilities within the private development through land sale conditions. As for the planned sites for public housing, taking into account the requests by various government departments including Social Welfare Department for reserving land for different GIC facilities, the Housing Department will co-ordinate with the PlanD and relevant departments during the formulation of planning brief of the public housing development and designate the plot ratio (PR) for the provision of relevant facilities where feasible from the planning and technical perspective.
Besides, when planning new residential development in the past, the maximum permissible PR or gross floor area (GFA) are usually stipulated on statutory town plans, which also specify the maximum permissible PR or GFA for both domestic and non-domestic uses (the latter include social welfare and other GIC facilities or commercial and retail uses). Upon review, the Government decided in August 2018 to adopt a new arrangement, whereby for sites to be rezoned for housing purpose (both public and private), the floor space for GIC facilities known at the plan-making stage will be exempted from GFA calculation for the sites concerned on statutory town plans, subject to positive technical feasibility assessment. This arrangement can provide the required social welfare facilities to meet local demand for community facilities without compromising the housing production. We believe these measures will help increase the floor space for the provision of social welfare facilities.

Ends/Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Issued at HKT 18:07