Following is a question by the Hon Wu Chi-wai and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, in the Legislative Council today (November 6):
The Chief Executive announced in his 2013 Policy Address that the Government would review planning of the sites in the Kai Tak Development Area (KTDA), explore the possibility of increasing office and housing supply, and conduct a consultation on the outcome of the review in due course. The Town Planning Board (TPB) is currently processing applications for relaxing the planning restrictions on several sites in the KTDA, and will convene a meeting in the middle of this month to consider such applications. It has been reported that the Government will also adjust upwards the development parameters of the remaining 21 sites in the KTDA. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the scope of the review on the planning of the sites in the KTDA as proposed in the 2013 Policy Address; the anticipated time to complete the review and consult the public on its outcome; whether it will propose to convert the originally planned facilities, such as divisional police stations, into residential use; the factors based on which the Government will decide how the development parameters of the sites in the KTDA will be adjusted; the details of the sites on which review has been completed, including the following information in respect of each of the sites involved: (i) area, (ii) location, (iii) type (residential/commercial/others, etc.), (iv) estimated additional floor area brought by the relaxation of planning restrictions on the site, and (v) anticipated date by which the application for relaxation of planning restrictions on the site would be submitted to the TPB;
(b) given that the Planning Department (PlanD) has submitted to the TPB applications for relaxing the planning restrictions on four sites in the KTDA, whether PlanD will submit to the TPB for consideration in future similar applications in respect of the remaining sites in the KTDA in a bundle to avoid the TPB from overlooking the cumulative impacts of applications involving other sites in the KTDA when considering individual applications;
(c) as the authorities indicated in reply to my question on the Estimates of Expenditure 2013-2014 in April this year that the Stage 2 public consultation on the environmentally friendly linkage system for the KTDA, which was originally scheduled to be held in end of last year/early this year, would be launched in the middle of this year, of the reasons why the consultation exercise has not yet been launched to date, and whether such reasons include the need to integrate with the relevant review on land development; of the anticipated time to launch the consultation; and
(d) of the progress of the advanced work for facilities in the KTDA whose construction works have not yet been implemented, including the sports complex, Kowloon East Regional Police Headquarters and Operational Base, a special school, a public library and Kai Tak Avenue Park, etc.; whether any advanced work, which had already been underway, required modifications or suspension because of the review of the planning of the sites in the KTDA?
Since the announcement of the 2013 Policy Address, the community has put forward many comments and proposals on how the Government can increase supply of housing land. For instance, there is a proposal to review the development areas with approved plan, such as the KTDA, with a view to increasing supply of housing flats. To meet the public aspiration for more housing land and facilitate the transformation of Kowloon East into another central business district, we are studying various possible options for increasing the development intensity of the KTDA.
My reply to the four parts of Hon Wu's question is as follows:
(a) The Chief Executive announced in the 2013 Policy Address that, to facilitate the transformation of Kowloon East, the Government would review the planning of the sites in the KTDA, study the possibility of increasing office and housing supply without compromising the land supply from the area in the coming five years, and conduct consultation on the outcome of the study. In this connection, we are studying the possible options for increasing the office and housing supply. The scope of the study includes technical assessments to ensure that the proposals would on one hand adhere to the original planning vision and related urban design concept, and would on the other hand not lead to overloading of the infrastructures (transportation, water supply, stormwater drains and sewerage, etc.) and leisure and community facilities, etc., or unacceptable environmental impacts including noise, air quality, ventilation and visual aspects.
The Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) has completed the first stage of the study and recommended that the development restrictions for four residential sites (i.e. Sites 1I1, 1I2, 1I3 and 1G1(B)) in the Grid Neighbourhood at the North Apron area can be slightly relaxed. The area of these sites measure 8 800m2, 9 300m2, 10 100m2 and 5 700m2 respectively. The CEDD has submitted a planning application for a proposed minor relaxation of the maximum plot ratio and building height restrictions from 4.5 to 5.5 and from 100 metres above Principal Datum (mPD) to 120 mPD respectively for the Sites 1I1, 1I2 and 1I3 to the TPB on October 4, 2013. As for residential Site 1G1(B), the Housing Department (HD) has also applied for a proposed minor relaxation of the maximum plot ratio, building height and site coverage restrictions from 5 to 6, from 80 mPD to 100 mPD and from 40% to 50% respectively on October 9, 2013. Subject to the TPB's approval, these proposals can provide an additional 33 900m2 domestic gross floor area, which would amount to an increase of about 22% over the original planning of these four residential sites. The CEDD and HD are conducting consultation on the above applications.
The whole study is scheduled for completion by mid-2014. We will propose planning amendments for other suitable sites in the KTDA, and take forward and consult the public on these proposals in accordance with the statutory town planning procedures.
(b) In the study on increasing the development intensity of the four residential sites (i.e. Sites 1I1, 1I2, 1I3 and 1G1(B)) in the Grid Neighbourhood, the CEDD has taken into account the development proposals, both committed and under planning in the surrounding areas to ensure that the minor relaxation of the development restrictions will not lead to unacceptable cumulative impact on the infrastructure provisions and the environment. For other proposals on increasing the development intensity of the sites in the KTDA, the CEDD will conduct the relevant cumulative impact assessments including impacts on traffic, environment, and leisure and community facilities, etc., consult relevant government departments and make reference to the standards for the provision of community facilities as specified in the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines to ensure that the community facilities required in the district will not be affected. As mentioned in paragraph (a) above, we will submit applications for other sites to the TPB in due course.
(c) The Stage 2 public consultation exercise for Connecting Kowloon East - Environmentally Friendly Linkage System (EFLS) formally commenced on October 28, 2013. Its main objective is to sum up and respond to the public views and suggestions received in the Stage 1 public consultation, and to seek the views and suggestions of the public on a proposed detailed feasibility study to address various key issues before committing to the implementation of the EFLS. The consultation period will end on February 4, 2014. Detailed information for the Stage 2 public consultation exercise can be downloaded from the EFLS webpage (www.ktd.gov.hk/efls).
(d) Individual facilities in the development area for which construction works have yet to start are at the planning or design stage. In examining the possible options for increasing the overall development intensity of the sites in the KTDA, we will follow the principle of not compromising the land supply from the area in the coming five years and will not affect those leisure and community facilities with ongoing preparatory work.
Ends/Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Issued at HKT 14:30