LCQ10: Acquisition of premises for redevelopment by URA
Following is a question by the Hon Frederick Fung and a written reply by the Acting Secretary for Planning and Lands, Mr Thomas Tso, in the Legislative Council today (May 15):
It has been reported that the "Five-year Corporate Plan" of the Urban Renewal Authority ("URA") has been approved by the Financial Secretary, and URA will continue to acquire dilapidated premises for redevelopment projects. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
(a) it will submit the "Five-year Corporate Plan" to this Council for consideration; if so, when; if not, of the reasons for that;
(b) it knows the detailed procedures that URA needs to undergo in acquiring dilapidated premises for redevelopment projects; and
(c) the owners concerned can accept the original purchase offers proposed by URA before the issuance of the order for resumption, i.e. when URA is applying under the Lands Resumption Ordinance (Cap.124) for the resumption of premises for which no purchase agreements can be reached between URA and the owners?
(a) The Financial Secretary is empowered under the Urban Renewal Authority Ordinance (URAO) (Cap. 563) to consider and approve the draft corporate plans and draft business plans submitted by the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) annually. In accordance with the URAO, the Financial Secretary approved on 28 March 2002 the first corporate plan and business plan of the URA covering the periods 1 April 2002 to 31 March 2007 and 1 April 2002 to 31 March 2003 respectively.
We will not make public the corporate plan which contains commercially sensitive information and the details of individual projects, including their location and implementation timetable. It will not be in the public interest to do so.
To implement the urban renewal programme, the Government will seek approval from the Finance Committee for a capital injection of $10 billion into the URA.
(b) The URA is an independent statutory body. Its acquisition policy is determined by the URA Board from time to time. The Government is generally aware of the acquisition process. After the announcement of a redevelopment project, the URA will -
(i) carry out an occupancy survey. The data will be used to, among other things, determine the eligibility of owners to the URA's Home Purchase Allowance (HPA). The HPA is the difference in the values between a seven-year-old flat in the same general locality and the open market value of the flat in question;
(ii) arrange for valuation to be conducted regarding the open market value and the HPA of a flat which will form the basis of the URA's purchase offers;
(iii) issue offer letters on the open market value of the property, the HPA as well as applicable allowances to eligible owners to purchase their properties by private agreement within a specified time frame;
(iv) organise briefing sessions for and provide information to affected owners on the acquisition offers;
(v) negotiate with the owners or their representatives; and
(vi) where there is mutual agreement, conclude the transaction.
(c) The purchase of properties within the project area during the acquisition stage is by private agreement between the URA and the affected owners. It is for the URA and the owners to negotiate the terms with a view to reaching mutual agreement.
After the URA has submitted a request for land resumption under the URAO, the acquisition process may continue prior to the reversion of the land to the Government, which is usually three months after the resumption notice has been published in the Gazette following an approval by the Chief Executive in Council on the resumption.
If an owner were to ask the URA to re-open the negotiation regarding the original purchase offer after the offer has lapsed but before the reversion date, it is entirely up to the URA to consider the request on a case-by-case and discretionary basis having regard to circumstances at the time.
End/Wednesday, May 15, 2002