LCQ16: Land grant mechanism for housing development




Following is a question by the Hon Emily Lau and a written reply by the Secretary for Planning and Lands, Mr John C Tsang, in the Legislative Council today (May 22):




In his speech during the resumption of the Second Reading debate on the Appropriation Bill 2002 in this Council on 17 April this year, the Chief Secretary for Administration said that the Administration had modified the land grant mechanism for housing development, and would continue to ensure that there would be adequate land to meet our public housing objectives. He also gave an assurance that there was no policy to create ghettos in our community. In this connection, will the executive authorities inform this Council:


(a) whether they had conducted any public consultation when the land grant mechanism for housing development was modified;


(b) of the criteria and procedures specified by the modified mechanism in respect of matters relating to land grant;


(c) when they intend to implement the modified mechanism; and


(d) how to ensure that not all the prime sites will be used for the development of private housing when the modified mechanism is implemented?




Madam President,


(a) As pointed out by the Chief Secretary for Administration at the Legco sitting on 17 April, the objective of modifying the land grant mechanism is to apply effectively a clear and balanced set of criteria in the allocation of land for housing development. This is not a new policy. We simply formalize the set of criteria used in the past and assign an existing committee to continue to apply the criteria. As the mechanism only relates to operations within the Government, and does not involve any new policy, no public consultation has been conducted.


(b) The criteria for allocation of land for housing development comprise a number of factors for consideration, mainly:


* Land Policy - to optimize the utilization of scarce land resources, in order to put land to its best economic and social use.


* Planning Policy - to promote an appropriate mix of private and public housing of different densities in urban and new town areas in order to achieve social and visual harmony and variety in urban built form.


* Effectiveness Policy - to achieve economies of scale and to provide adequate facilities for the community.


The existing procedures are basically the same as the allocation procedures adopted in the past. After a site has been earmarked for residential use, the committee concerned will recommend whether the site should be used for public or private housing development by applying the criteria. The recommendation will be submitted to another committee for decision before implementation.


(c) The modified mechanism is already in operation.


(d) Under the modified mechanism, the Government will consider a number of factors, including the land policy, planning policy and effectiveness policy, so as to strike the right balance in the allocation process in the best interests of the community as a whole. The Government will also continue to ensure that there will be adequate land to meet the public housing objectives.


End/Wednesday, May 22, 2002