Following is a question by the Hon Tam Yiu-chung and a reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (July 7):
Some residents of Tsuen Wan District consider that the development intensities of the four development projects at the TW5, TW6 and TW7 sites of the West Rail Tsuen Wan West Station, as well as Tsuen Wan Town Lot Number (TWTL No.) 393 are too high, and the wall effect created by these developments upon their completion will have impact on the air ventilation in the urban area of Tsuen Wan. It has been learnt that last year, the Tsuen Wan District Council (TWDC) commissioned an independent academic institution to conduct a detailed study on the overall impact of such four new development projects on the air ventilation in Tsuen Wan town centre. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) whether the authorities know the specific details of the aforesaid study; whether they have assessed if the methodology adopted in the study, when compared with the Government's separate air ventilation assessments conducted for individual development projects, can reflect more accurately and comprehensively the impact of such development projects on the air ventilation in the Tsuen Wan District;
(b) whether the authorities will make reference to the outcome and recommendations of the aforesaid study, and implement improvement measures to reduce the adverse impact of such development projects on the air ventilation in the Tsuen Wan District, as well as correspondingly impose restrictions on the development projects which have not been put to tender; and
(c) given that in her speech on the motion "Reviewing afresh the use of land at the Kowloon waterfront" at the meeting of this Council on December 9 last year, the Secretary for Development indicated that the Government had removed TWTL No. 393 from the Application List, giving the Bureau more opportunities to consider with TWDC the overall accumulated effect brought by the sites of the above four projects so as to decide afresh the use of TWTL No. 393 which had originally been designated for hotel development purpose, of the latest progress in this regard?
The Government issued the Technical Circular on Air Ventilation Assessments (AVAs) in 2006. It requires Government departments and Bureaux to conduct AVAs according to the Technical Circular when commencing major Government projects, planning for new development areas and comprehensive redevelopment areas, and preparing new town plans and revising major town plans. The Government will also take into account their individual conditions and conduct AVA on the sites available for land sale to assess the impacts of the development project on the pedestrian wind environment, and to include appropriate provisions in the Conditions of Sale to ensure that the air ventilation condition in the area is maintained at an acceptable level.
Since 2006, when reviewing and revising outline zoning plans, the Government will also request, as appropriate, developers of sites zoned as "Comprehensive Development Area" (CDA) to submit AVA reports as part of the "Master Layout Plan" (MLP) submission for approval by the Town Planning Board (TPB). For other sites where planning permission is required, AVA may be required by TPB as an approval condition.
My reply to the three-part question is as follows:
(a) The Government is aware that the Community Building, Planning and Development Committee of the Tsuen Wan District Council (TWDC) has commissioned the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology to conduct an AVA study for TW5, TW6, TW7 and Tsuen Wan Town Lot Number (TWTL No.) 393. The Planning Department (PlanD) was also invited to be a member of the steering group of the study. According to PlanD, the study has been carried out in accordance with the Technical Circular promulgated by the Government in 2006 and is still in its final stage. According to the Technical Circular, AVA can be conducted in respect of an individual development project, several development projects or for an entire district. There is no question of which one is better than the other.
(b) The three railway property developments of the West Rail Tsuen Wan West Station, i.e. the development projects at the TW5, TW6 and TW7 sites are located at sites zoned as CDA. The MLPs of these development projects were submitted by the applicant, the former Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC), and planning approval was granted by the TPB between 2000 and 2001. Since the three aforesaid development projects were approved by the TPB before the promulgation of the Technical Circular on AVA, the applicant was not required to submit AVA reports.
Of the three development projects, the construction works of TW7 has already commenced. Regarding TW5, its MLP was approved by the TPB in 2000. Subsequently, the KCRC had taken the initiative to revise the approved MLP. The revisions include deleting a residential block at the waterfront site, constructing hotels at the non-waterfront area instead, adjusting the disposition of the buildings, and widening the breezeway and view corridor to improve air ventilation and visual permeability. The revised MLP was approved by the TPB in 2005, and the building plan was also approved by the Buildings Department in 2009. Similarly, the MLP and building plan for TW6 were approved in 2000 and 2009 respectively. While the two projects at TW5 and TW6 can now proceed in accordance with the respective planning schemes, every effort will be made to achieve the best design in the detailed design stage.
The site TWTL No. 393 at Yeung Uk Road was included as a "hotel-only" site in the 2008-09 Application List (AL). As required by the Technical Circular, the PlanD commissioned an AVA between 2007 and 2008 for the lot. Based on the findings of the study, the PlanD revised the development parameters of the site by lowering the plot ratio, site coverage, etc. Compared with the original scheme, the revised scheme put forward by PlanD would improve air ventilation significantly. Nevertheless, we noted the subsequent concerns of TWDC on the development intensity of the site and considered the overall demand and supply condition of the hotel sites, thus decided to temporarily remove this hotel site from the AL so as to examine in more details the impact of this site towards the development of the local community.
President, after preparation of the main reply, I realised that my reply may not have accurately answered the second part of the question. So I would like to give a brief supplement. Taking into account the detailed explanation in the second part of my reply, even though the tender process of the two sites of TW5 and TW6, which have already got approved planning schemes, has yet to begin, there is no room to further revise or restrict the planning parameters. On the other hand, for the "hotel-only" site TWTL No. 393 in Yeung Uk Road, whilst PlanD has lowered the development plot ratio based on the findings of the AVA completed earlier, I would be pleased to listen to the views of the TWDC. This will lead to my reply to part three of the Hon Tam's question.
(c) In view of the above, currently, the Government has no plan to include TWTL No. 393 in the AL again. We will review the use of this lot and determine appropriate development parameters with regard to its use.
Ends/Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Issued at HKT 18:00