Following is a question by the Hon Lam Cheuk-ting and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Michael Wong, in the Legislative Council today (December 6):
"Environ of a recognised village" (VE) generally refers to the area within a 300-foot radius from the edge of the last village type house built in the recognised village before the introduction of the Small House Policy on December 1, 1972. According to the information provided by the Lands Department, among the existing 642 recognised villages across the territory, the VE boundaries for 73 of them have not been drawn up. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of (i) the land area of each recognised village for which VE boundary has been drawn up and its remaining land area available for Village Type Development uses, and (ii) the names of the recognised villages the VE boundaries of which have been extended (set out by District Council district); and
(2) among the 210 sites which had been identified, as indicated by the authorities in September this year, of the number of sites which include land (i) planned for Village Type Development uses or (ii) to be used for the extension of VE boundaries?
Recognised villages refer to those villages included in the List of Recognised Villages compiled by the Lands Department (LandsD) for implementing the Small House Policy. Under the Small House Policy, in general, a male indigenous villager aged 18 years old or above who is descended through the male line from a resident in 1898 of a recognised village in the New Territories may apply to the authority once during his lifetime for permission to build for himself a small house on a suitable site within his own village. At present, there are a total of 642 recognised villages approved in the territory. From the viewpoint of historical development in the New Territories, recognised villages broadly reflect the locations and distribution of various indigenous villages in the New Territories with habitation dated back to the 19th century or before.
Village Environ (VE) refers to the area within a 300-foot radius from the edge of the last Village Type House built in the recognised village before the introduction of the Small House Policy on December 1, 1972. At present, VE of 569 out of the 642 recognised villages has been drawn up.
My reply to the two parts of the question is as follows:
(1) For the 569 recognised villages with VE already drawn up, the relevant boundary plans are available for purchase or inspection by the public at all District Survey Offices of the LandsD. The LandsD has not compiled statistics on the area covered by the boundary plans. In fact, not all the land within VE is considered suitable for development, for example, the land between existing village houses, existing village access roads, other fragmented spaces and the like. As for the rest of the land within VE, whether it is developable or approved eventually for small houses depends on the location of the small house application and considerations such as area, topography, environment, accessibility of those lots. Given these variables, the Government has not conducted an estimate on the area of developable land within VE.
According to the LandsD's existing record, among the recognised villages with VE drawn up, the area of two villages, namely Wing Lung Wai and Yeung Uk Tsuen in Yuen Long, slightly increased as a result of revising their VE boundaries in the 1970s.
(2) As part of the multi-pronged strategy to increase land supply, the Government has identified through on-going land use review some 210 sites with potential for housing development in the short to medium term. These some 210 sites are to be used for the provision of public and private housing. As shown in the information provided when answering Member's questions on November 8 and November 29, one of those sites involves a portion of land currently under the village type development zoning.
Ends/Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Issued at HKT 14:30