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Legislative Council Question 3 : "Private Treaty Grant" by the Hon Lee Wing-tat and a reply by the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council

Following is a question by the Hon Lee Wing-tat and a reply by the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (December 6):

Questions:

Regarding the sites which were granted by way of private treaty with permitted use specified, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the details of the sites granted by private treaty in the past five years, including the land grant execution dates and the premiums paid by the grantees, their permitted and current land uses, and whether the sites have incorporated private land already held by the grantees before the execution of the land grants;

(b) among the cases referred to in item (a), of the cases in which the use of the sites concerned as permitted have ceased or diminished, and when the cessation or diminution of use began; as well as the cases in which the authorities initiated, on grounds of breach of the cessation or diminution of use clause, proceedings to re-possess the sites without compensation, the results thereof, and whether the authorities have assessed the market value of the sites concerned that may be realised through open auctions; and

(c) in respect of each of the six applications for lease modification or land exchange submitted in the past five financial years to alter the land use of sites granted by private treaty, of the permitted land use, the land grant execution date, whether the use of the site concerned as permitted had ceased or diminished before the application was approved (if so, please specify when the cessation or diminution of use began), the respective dates on which the application was received and approved, the reasons for approving the application, and the amount of premium payable by the grantee concerned?

Reply:

Madam President,

Most Government land for industrial, commercial or residential developments is sold by public auction or tender. Only in a small number of cases which meet the economic, social and community needs and where these are fully justified and comply with approved Government policies will Government, under such special circumstances, dispose of land in the form of private treaty grant (PTG) for specified purposes.

As a result of the enhancement in the economic environment and the changing needs of our society, the originally specified purposes of some PTG sites have become obsolete or are no longer required. Under our policy, grantees have been allowed to apply for change of land use. Generally speaking, applications for lease modification are usually given consideration, if the following conditions are met -

(a) the former permitted use is already obsolete due to changing circumstances;

(b) a change in the original land use of the PTG site is confirmed through the statutory town planning procedure for other better uses; and

(c) the applicant is prepared to pay full market premium.

Each application is subject to stringent scrutiny and must be justified in the public interest, before it is submitted to the Chief Executive in Council (ExCo) for consideration or to the delegated authority for consideration having regard to the criteria set by ExCo, for deciding whether the application is approved or not on individual merits.

Regarding the information on PTG requested by the Honourable Members, my reply to the three-part question is as follows -

(a) Approved and executed PTG cases in the past five years between the 2001-02 financial year and October 2006, with such details as the land grant execution dates, the premiums paid by the grantees, the permitted uses etc., are set out in Annex I. No private land was involved in these cases.

(b) Up to now, the records of the Lands Department (LandsD) show that, in respect of the cases in Annex I, no cessation or diminution of the originally specified uses had been observed, nor was there any case where the Government had to re-enter the site on grounds of contravention of the diminution of user clause.

(c) The relevant information on the six approved and executed cases involving application for change of land use by PTG grantees in the past five financial years between 2001-02 and 2005-06 is set out in Annex II. Approval for change of land use was granted in these six cases, as they were in line with the relevant policy considerations. According to the records of the LandsD, no sites had been used to a diminished extent for the originally specified purposes before the applications were approved.

Ends/Wednesday, December 6, 2006
Issued at HKT 12:37

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