Lands Department responds to enquiries
In response to media enquiries, the Lands Department (LandsD) said today (August 7) that regarding the applications submitted to LandsD for rebuilding New Territories Exempted Houses on the lots in question in DD 112, Yuen Long, no approval had been given to the application submitted by either the former owner or the current owner (Assistant Director/Regional 3, Ms Anita Lam and her spouse). There is no question of applying double standards in approving the applications. For the application submitted by the former owner, there was no need for the District Lands Office/Yuen Long (DLO/YL) to continue to process it because of the change of the ownership. The current application is being processed by the New Territories Action Team of LandsD, which is under Assistant Director/Estate Management.
As regards the applications for planning permission in respect of the same lots submitted by the former owner and the current owner respectively, LandsD's comments were stated under "Land Administration" in the main body of the Rural and New Town Planning Committee (RNTPC) papers. It was stated in paragraph 8.1.1(c) of the RNTPC paper no. A/YL-SK/148 of 2009 that for the development parameters for the "house" portion of the lots concerned, in the event that no evidence could be established to prove the development restrictions for the "house" portion, DLO/YL might not adopt the development parameters as specified in GN 364 of 1934 (i.e. two storeys and site coverage 66.6%) taking into account that the lease itself does not stipulate such restrictions.
Similarly, it was stated in paragraph 8.1.1(b) of the RNTPC paper no. A/YL-SK/201 of 2014 that the development parameters of the application lots might be up to three storeys and 100% site coverage for the "house" portion. But paragraph 8.1.1(c) of that paper at the same time indicated that the development parameters of the proposed houses were subject to LandsD's decision.
It can be seen from what was stated in the two papers about LandsD's comments on the planning applications provided to the Planning Department that it does not rule out rebuilding up to three storeys and 100% site coverage on the "house" portion of the lots in question. In other words, the comments provided by LandsD to the Town Planning Board, as far as the permissible development scale under the lease of the lots is concerned, are not conflicting. LandsD also indicated in the two planning papers that the application for rebuilding and the permissible scale were still subject to LandsD's approval even though the planning application was approved.
As for Ms Lam's case, the department has received complaints alleging that violation of the relevant Civil Service Code might have been involved and querying whether the department had handled Ms Lam's declaration properly. The department will handle the complaints objectively and impartially in accordance with the established mechanism. Although the department has already issued a written instruction to Ms Lam and made internal arrangements to refrain Ms Lam from taking part in any matters relating to the land concerned, the department will arrange staff movement shortly, so that Ms Lam will no longer be involved in the land administration work of Yuen Long district.
Ends/Thursday, August 7, 2014
Issued at HKT 23:15