LCQ2: North East New Territories New Development Areas

Following is a question by Dr Hon Fernando Cheung and a reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, in the Legislative Council today (October 24):


The Government has indicated earlier that there are currently over 2 100 hectares of land planned for "Residential" or "Commercial/Residential" land use in the Government's land reserve, including about 1 200-odd hectares of land zoned "Village Type Development". The objective of conducting the North East New Territories New Development Areas Planning (the Planning) by the Government is to increase land supply. Some villagers of the Ma Shi Po Village affected by the Planning, including farmers whose families have engaged in farming for generations, have relayed that ever since the Government had indicated more than a decade ago that it would develop North East New Territories, they have been under constant threat of land resumption and dispossession by real estate developers. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) among the aforesaid 2 100-odd hectares of land, of the respective areas of land reserved for public housing and various private developments as well as sites which are already on the Application List, excluding "Village Type Development" sites and land which is not suitable for development; the specific locations of such land and estimated numbers of various types of housing units that may be built; as well as the locations of the 1 200-odd hectares of "Village Type Development" sites;

(b) of the details of the household statistics, including the number of households, distribution of household size, household income profile, types of housing and number of households, in the three areas affected by the Planning, namely Kwu Tung North, Fanling North and Ping Che/Ta Kwu Ling, according to the demographic data in 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011, as well as the estimated population in the three areas at present; and

(c) of the principles based on which the Government chooses to adopt the "public-private partnership" approach or the "Conventional New Town Approach" in developing a new area; as the aforesaid villagers have indicated that the Government had initially planned to develop North East New Territories under the "public-private partnership" approach, and many pieces of agricultural land within the three affected areas were acquired and damaged as a result, of the transaction details, including the lots, areas, acquisition parties, values and the years of transaction, of the land in these three areas since 1996?



During the motion debate on the North East New Territories New Development Areas (NENT NDAs) later today in this Council, I will give a comprehensive account of the NDAs project and relevant issues. Meanwhile, I will confine my reply to Dr Hon Cheung's question:

(a) The 2 100-odd hectares of government land mentioned in the question refers to areas of unleased or unallocated government land zoned "Residential", "Commercial/Residential" and "Village Type Development" on statutory town plans (including Outline Zoning Plans and Development Permission Area Plans). This figure, based on statistics as at the end of June 2012, is simply obtained by subtracting leased or allocated areas under respective land use zonings from the total area covered by such zones on the statutory town plans.

There are a total of 952.5 hectares of unleased or unallocated government land which are "Residential" or "Commercial/Residential". Excluding roads/passageways, man-made slopes, land allocated under the Simplified Temporary Land Allocation procedures (e.g. land allocated to government departments as temporary works areas) and fragmented sites (sites less than 0.05 hectares in area), which are not suitable for development, not yet available for development or with low development potential, there remain 391.5 hectares of land. It must be pointed out that amongst the 391.5 hectares of land, there are still a number of sites with irregular shapes (e.g. empty space between buildings, back lanes and narrow strips of land alongside existing developments, highways or other amenities), and not all of them are suitable for housing development.

Furthermore, of the above 391.5 hectares of government land, 19 sites, representing 18.9 hectares of land in total, have been included in the 2012-13 Application List for land sale while the sites allocated to the Housing Authority for planned public housing development are not included in these 391.5 hectares of land. The remaining may not necessarily be land immediately available for development as some will require technical studies to ascertain their development feasibility. Indeed, some of such land have already been included in various studies. At present, we are not able to estimate on how much land among the 391.5 hectares can be made available for housing development and the number of housing units that can be built.

Within the "Village Type Development" zones, there are a total of 1 201.2 hectares of unleased or unallocated government land. Excluding roads/passageways, man-made slopes and land allocated under the Simplified Temporary Land Allocation procedures, there remain 932.9 hectares of land.

Information on the relevant land area analysis and the map showing the site boundaries were uploaded onto the website of the Development Bureau on October 17 for public inspection.

(b) In the Population Census/Population By-census, the household and population statistics by districts are compiled on the basis of the demarcation of the District Council districts/constituency areas or tertiary planning units/street blocks, which are different from the development boundaries of the NENT NDAs. As such, the Population Census/Population By-census cannot provide the household and population statistics of the NDAs.

According to the information obtained from site inspections under the NENT NDAs Planning and Engineering Study (the Study) in 2009 and 2011, about 1 700 households (approximately 6 500 persons) would be affected by the NDAs project and subject to removal. The affected households are mainly living in buildings of one to two storeys height. The actual numbers and circumstances of the households can only be confirmed after the completion of the pre-clearance surveys and eligibility screening to be conducted before commencement of works.

(c) More than half of the developable land in the NENT NDAs are privately owned. In the early stage of the Study, the implementation of the NDAs project has already been included in the Study as a matter requiring attention and public discussion has been made thereon. The Administration has all along remained open minded on the issue. After the Stage One and Stage Two Public Engagement exercises, we have thoroughly considered the public views on the implementation mechanism, the needs to ensure orderly implementation of the NDAs project and timely provision of various public facilities and housing units. In the Stage Three Public Engagement exercise, we have indicated that we would adopt the "Conventional New Town Approach" to implement the NDAs.

As we advised the Panel on Development of the Legislative Council in June this year, whether some kind of flexibility could be built in for public-private partnership in implementing the NDAs project would depend on whether it could address the need for timing provision of housing supply including new Home Ownership Scheme units, and the public perception of such approach. The Government will consider the comments collected during the Stage Three Public Engagement exercise before deciding on the final development approach for implementing the NDAs project.

At present, we do not have information on transaction of private land within the NDAs. Such information is not required for analysis in the planning and engineering study concerned.

Ends/Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Issued at HKT 15:16