Legislative Council Question 18 : "Approval of Master Layout Plan" by the Hon Andrew Cheng and a written reply by the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council
The conditions of certain leases of large scale developments may require the developer to submit a Master Layout Plan (MLP) showing the development proposal for approval by the Director of Lands before the actual development. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) whether the developer may commence the construction works which have been approved by the Building Authority (BA) before the MLP is approved; if so, whether the Director of Lands will be subject to constraints when considering the MLP because of the completion of some construction works, whether he will require the developer to demolish those completed construction works before approving the MLP concerned, and how he deals with those cases involving completed construction works which cannot be demolished or restored;
(b) whether the developer is required, where amendments are needed to be made to the approved construction works for compliance with the requirements of the MLP, to submit such amendments to BA for approval;
(c) of the details, including the lot number, total area, location, planned land use and the premium of the leased land, the respective dates on which the Lands Department granted preliminary and final approval for the MLP concerned, as well as the respective dates on which BA granted preliminary and final approval for the commencement of construction works, of each of the development projects involving construction works which were commenced in the past three years, but the MLPs concerned had not yet been approved;
(d) of the current number of development projects involving construction works which are in progress while the MLPs have not yet approved, as well as the details of each of these projects, including the lot number, total area, location, planned land use and the premium of the leased land, the date on which the developer submitted the MLP, the respective dates on which the developer applied for and was granted approval for the commencement of construction works; and
(e) whether the authorities will stipulate that developers may not commence approved construction works before the relevant MLPs for the developments have been approved, so as to avoid the Lands Department from being subject to constraints when considering the MLPs, and avoid environmental problems and wastage arising from the restoration of construction works which have been completed before the MLPs concerned are approved?
For a development project on a site designated as "Comprehensive Development Area" (CDA) on the Outline Zoning Plan, the developer is required to submit a Master Layout Plan (MLP) to the Town Planning Board (TPB) for approval. For such development projects which require submission of an MLP to the TPB, the Lands Department (Lands D) normally would not include a requirement in the land grant conditions for the submission of an MLP to the Director of Lands for approval, so as to avoid duplication of procedures.
As for land not designated as CDA, Lands D would in general include a requirement for MLP approval into the land grant conditions for large-scale development projects with a site area exceeding 2 hectares. The Director of Lands adheres to relevant provisions in the land grant in vetting and approving such MLPs, whereas the Building Authority (BA) refers to the provisions in the Buildings Ordinance and its subsidiary legislation in processing relevant building plans for approval. These two approving mechanisms are governed by respective legislations and land grant conditions, and the duties and authorities of the Director of Lands and the BA are clearly defined. Neither of the processing would exert any influence on the other. The industry and developers know and understand very well such existing approval procedures.
Referring to the LegCo question on matters concerning MLP approval by Lands D, the Administration would respond as follows:
(1) In approving the MLP, the Director of Lands will adhere to the conditions under the relevant land grant. Before deciding on whether approval should be given to the MLP, the Director of Lands will fully consult the other departments for their professional advice, in order to ensure that the proposed development is in compliance with requirements relating to planning, environmental protection and traffic, etc. under the land grant conditions. In any case, property developments must be constructed in accordance with the MLP finally approved by the Lands Department, as well as the relevant building plans approved under the land grant conditions and the Buildings Ordinance. In theory, it does not contravene any land grant conditions for a developer to apply to the BA for approval of the building plans and consent for commencement of works before the relevant MLP is approved. However, as explained above, the BA, when deciding whether such approval or consent should be given, will only consider if the proposed building works are in compliance with statutory requirements and relevant building safety and health standards in accordance with the Buildings Ordinance and its subsidiary legislation. Under the Buildings Ordinance, the BA cannot reject the application on the ground that the MLP has not yet been approved by Lands D. As such, the developer may run the risk that the approved building plans may not comply with the finally approved MLP.
For any building works which are not in compliance with the finally approved MLP, the developer will have to rectify or demolish those parts of the works.
(2) If a developer has to amend the approved building works in order to meet the requirements of the MLP, he is required to apply to the BA for approval of the revised plans and consent for commencement of the revised building works in accordance with the provisions of the Buildings Ordinance.
(3) According to the records of the Lands D and the Buildings Department (BD), of the development projects with MLP approved in the past 3 years, there are 3 cases in which application had been made to and grant of consent had been given by the BA for the commencement of works. Details of the concerned development projects are provided at Annex I.
(4) According to the records of the Lands D and BD, there is only one development project for which application has been made to and consent has currently been given by the BA for the commencement of works while approval of the MLP has not yet been obtained from the Lands D under the conditions of the land grant. Details of the concerned development project are provided at Annex II.
(5) The developers are well aware that if they commence any works prior to approval of the MLP by the Lands D, they may run the risk as stated in part (1) of the reply. According to the Lands D, there have not been any cases so far in which the developer is required to demolish parts of the completed works so as to comply with the finally approved MLP. The existing approval procedures has effectively ensured that property developments are carried out in accordance with the MLPs approved by the Lands D and the building plans approved under the land grant conditions and the Buildings Ordinance. Therefore, further tightening of the requirements is not necessary.
Ends/Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Issued at HKT 13:15