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LCQ10: Measures to control "inflated buildings"

Following is a question by the Hon Lee Wing-tat and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (May 25):

Question:

The Government drew up a set of new practice notes (including a 10% cap on the granting of gross floor area (GFA) concessions) earlier this year for controlling "inflated buildings", and has requested the West Rail Property Development Limited to redesign six property developments above the railway stations along the West Rail to comply with such new requirements. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether the Government, as the largest shareholder of the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL), has requested the MTRCL to redesign other property development projects above the railway stations along the rail lines if their construction has yet to commence, so as to comply with such new requirements; if it has, of the results; if not, the reasons for that;

(b) of the respective numbers of residential blocks, numbers of floors and residential flats as well as flat sizes in each block, and levels of the podiums and numbers of parking spaces to be built under the original designs of the development projects above the Tin Wing Light Rail Transit station in Tin Shui Wai and the Tai Wai Station in Shatin; whether it knows, in terms of GFA concessions to be granted, the number of floors and residential flats as well as flat sizes in each block, as well as the level of podiums and number of car parking spaces, how the original designs of such projects compare with the designs amended according to such new requirements; and

(c) whether the Government has any measure to make the MTRCL reconsider amending the designs and flat mixes of its property development projects which will be put to tender within this year to comply with such new requirements, so that the Government's policy for controlling "inflated buildings" can be consistently implemented and the supply of small-to-medium-sized flats can be increased?

Reply:

President,

The new requirements of quality and sustainable built environment, including the measures to control "inflated buildings", have been incorporated into the practice notes promulgated by the Buildings Department which have come into effect from April 1, 2011. The practice notes set out objective criteria for the design of new buildings and provide appropriate incentives for inclusion of green features in new buildings.

Building plan applications submitted to the Buildings Department before the relevant new practice notes came into effect are considered in accordance with the relevant old practice notes.

I reply to the three parts of the question as follows:

(a) The MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) is a listed company and has the discretion to decide how to implement property development projects it owned. According to the Buildings Department's relevant arrangements, the Department considers building plan applications submitted before April 1, 2011 in accordance with the old practice notes, and considers building plan applications submitted on or after April 1, 2011 in accordance with the new practice notes.

(b) The building plan for the property development project above Tin Shui Wai Light Rail Terminus owned by MTRCL was approved in December 2009, whilst MTRCL submitted the building plan application for its property development project above Tai Wai Station to the Buildings Department before April 1, 2011. Therefore, the two building plans are not required to comply with the new practice notes.

According to the Master Layout Plan (MLP) approved by the Town Planning Board (TPB) in 2001, MTRCL's property development above Tin Shui Wai Light Rail Terminus comprises 4 blocks of 43 storeys (including a 3-storey podium for Light Rail Terminus, carparks and clubhouse/podium garden respectively), providing 1 600 flats with an average flat size of about 57 square metres, as well as 287 and 25 parking spaces for private cars and motorcycles respectively. 

As for MTRCL's property development above Tai Wai Station, according to the MLP approved by the TPB in 2009, it comprises 8 blocks of 40 to 50 storeys (in addition to a 5-storey podium for station facilities, shopping mall and carparks), providing 2 900 flats with an average flat size of about 66 square metres as well as 849 and 90 parking spaces for private cars and motorcycles respectively. 

Just like other private property development projects, MTRCL has the discretion to decide how to implement the two property development projects it owned referred to in this part. As mentioned above, the building plan for the property development project above Tin Shui Wai Light Rail Terminus was approved in December 2009, whilst MTRCL submitted the building plan application for its property development project above Tai Wai Station to the Buildings Department before April 1, 2011. Therefore, the two building plans are not required to comply with the new practice notes.

(c) As mentioned above, MTRCL has the discretion to decide how to implement its own property development projects.


Ends/Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Issued at HKT 14:00

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