Residential Development near Phase 8 of Mei Foo Sun Chuen complies with Statutory Requirements and Lease Conditions

In response to some local residents' concern over a residential development near Phase 8 of Mei Foo Sun Chuen, a spokesman for the Development Bureau confirmed today (April 3) that the project meets relevant statutory requirements and complies with the use permissible under the land lease.  There is no case for the Government to interfere with a lawful private project.

"The residential development concerned (the development) is located at Lots NKML 25 R.P. and NKML 25 S.B (the site).  According to the lease conditions, the site can be used for non-industrial uses which include residential use.  The site falls within the Lai Chi Kok Outline Zoning Plan and has been zoned 'Residential (Group A)' since 1985 under the Town Planning Ordinance (Cap. 131).  The Building Authority (BA) has approved the general building plans and commencement of foundation works for the development in accordance with the Buildings Ordinance (Cap. 123) (BO)", the spokesman said.

According to the latest approved building plans, one single block of 20-storey building will be built at the site and its height will be similar to that of the buildings of Phase 8 of Mei Foo Sun Chuen next to the site.

"There have been suggestions that the Government should consider executing a non-in-situ land exchange with the owner of the site so as to stop the development.  We have to emphasise that non-in-situ land exchanges are considered by the Executive Council only under very special circumstances with full policy justifications where an overall public interest is at stake, for example, to protect and preserve a historic building under Hong Kong's heritage conservation policy.

In this case, the development complies with the planning and building legislation and residential use is permissible under the land lease. There are no policy considerations or special circumstances which warrant the Government's interference with private property rights.  Any suggested non-in-situ land exchange with the owner to stop the development simply to address some local resistance cannot be justified", the spokesman added.

The residents' concern about the development has been the subject of discussion at the Sham Shui Po District Council and the Legislative Council.  Specifically, Members of the Legislative Council met with the Administration in case conferences on the subject held in 2004, 2009 and 2010 (twice in 2010).  Between 2009 and 2011, representatives of the Administration also attended meetings of the working group established under the Sham Shui Po District Council on the subject, and met with the residents of Phase 8 of Mei Foo Sun Chuen.  During those extensive discussions, relevant departments had explained the situation and clarified misunderstandings.  For example, in response to an allegation that the project was taking up the so-called "residual plot ratio" of the Mei Foo Sun Chuen Phase 8 site, the Administration explained that there could be no question of this as the project site is a separate site with its own development parameters.

"We fully appreciate growing public aspirations for a better living environment in recent years and the Government has taken various steps, both policy changes and review of government schemes, to respond positively to those aspirations.  However, respect for private property rights and upholding the rule of law must not be compromised," the spokesman said.

A background note on the development is attached.

Ends/Sunday, April 3, 2011
Issued at HKT 18:17