LCQ8: Demand-led Redevelopment Project Pilot Scheme
Following is a question by the Hon Andrew Leung and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, in the Legislative Council today (May 7):
The Demand-led Redevelopment Project Pilot Scheme (the Scheme) launched by the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) in 2011 has so far received three rounds of applications involving 110 project proposals, but less than one-tenth of such applications have been selected by URA. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) given that the Secretary for Development indicated earlier on that URA would conduct a review of the Scheme, whether it knows the latest progress of the review; and
(2) whether it knows if URA has already suspended the Scheme; if the Scheme has been suspended, of the reasons for that; if the Scheme has not been suspended, when URA will accept the fourth round of applications under the Scheme; if URA has no such timetable, of the reasons for that?
The Urban Renewal Strategy promulgated by the Government on February 24, 2011 proposes that a "people first, district-based, public participatory" approach should be adopted in carrying out urban renewal. Under the new strategy, the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) can forge ahead with urban renewal under diverse forms, including responding to a joint approach from building owners to initiate redevelopment of their lots, thus further expanding the role of URA in tackling the problem of urban decay in the old districts of Hong Kong.
In May 2011, the URA Board approved the implementation framework, principles of consideration and selection criteria of the Demand-led Redevelopment Project Pilot Scheme (Demand-led Scheme), which include the requirement that there have to be owners of not less than 67% of the undivided shares of the respective lots of a site under application jointly submitting the application; the site under application should not be smaller than 400 square metre; the condition of the buildings covered by the site are identified as "varied" or "poor"; and there are available resources from URA to commence and implement the project within a reasonably short period of time. Since the rollout of the Demand-led Scheme in July 2011, URA has been selecting project applications based on the above principles and criteria.
My reply to the two-part question is as follows:
(1) URA launched the first round of the Demand-led Scheme in July 2011. As of today, three rounds of invitation for applications for the Scheme have been launched. A total of 110 applications were received and nine projects commenced, including one which was terminated as it failed to meet the required conditions for continued implementation.
When the URA Board approved the implementation framework of the Demand-led Scheme, it was mindful that demand-led redevelopment was a new initiative and considered that its implementation framework should be refined and enhanced in the light of experience. As such, URA plans to conduct a comprehensive review of the Scheme based on experience after the launch of the third round of the Demand-led Scheme.
In view of the fact that the financial commitment of the Demand-led Scheme and the sites covered by the applications are becoming larger and larger, and the factors that need to be considered are getting increasingly complex, URA considers it necessary to conduct a comprehensive review of the Scheme. To ensure its sustainability, URA must continue to operate under the principles of prudence and upholding a self-financing objective in the long run.
In late April this year, URA has set up an ad hoc committee to oversee the review of the Demand-led Scheme. The ad hoc committee plans to consult the seven District Advisory Committees (DACs) of URA (the seven DACs are in the Central and Western, Wan Chai, Yau Tsim Mong, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon City, Kwun Tong and Tsuen Wan districts respectively), the membership of which comprises District Councillors, local dignitaries and professional experts. URA also plans to meet the Panel on Development of the Legislative Council later this year to listen to members' views on the review.
(2) URA has already commenced two of the selected projects in the third round of the Demand-led Scheme. The rest of the selected projects in the third round will be commenced in 2014-15. URA will decide on the way forward for the Demand-led Scheme after completion of the review.
Ends/Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Issued at HKT 15:04