The Lands Department announced today (January 16) the commencement of a freezing survey within the areas covered by the draft Outline Zoning Plans (OZPs) gazetted on December 20, 2013, for the Fanling North and Kwu Tung North New Development Areas (NDAs). During the freezing survey, staff of the Lands Department will register relevant particulars of the structures within the areas and the occupants therein.
The conduct of a freezing survey is a standard process in the Government's planning for all development projects requiring land resumption and clearance. Its purpose is to capture the current occupation and status of existing structures within the development areas. The information obtained will serve as a basis for assessment of eligibility for rehousing and/or ex-gratia allowances, where applicable, in the event that any structures and occupiers therein are required to be cleared by the Government in future for the proposed developments. The principle is that structures and occupiers not captured during the survey will not have a claim for consideration.
"Since the announcement of the revised development plans in July 2013, the Government has been taking forward the planning of the two NDAs. We started the statutory planning process by gazetting the draft OZPs in December 2013. We will also be seeking funding approval for the package of advance works later this year. The conduct of the freezing survey is another essential step to be taken in the process," the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, said.
"During earlier consultations with the Legislative Council Panel on Development and meetings with the local community in the two NDAs, we have heard requests for the early conduct of a freezing survey. The decision to conduct the survey now, soon after the boundaries of the NDAs were drawn up and promulgated in the form of draft OZPs, is a positive response to that request," Mr Chan added.
"We have been listening to the concerns expressed by the different groups of people affected, including their views on rehousing and compensation. The discussion will continue. As I have said before, the Government will try to address their concerns where possible, having regard to public interest and the need to safeguard the proper use of public funds. Meanwhile, the freezing survey will protect the interests of those who may be affected, by assuring them that their occupation of the existing structures has been properly recorded by the Government for the purpose of assessing their eligibility for rehousing and any ex-gratia allowances (if eligible) in future."
The Lands Department stresses that at this point in time the Government has yet to make a decision on whether or not the individual structures surveyed have to be cleared, and on the timing of such clearance, if required. When the Government gives approvals in future for land resumption/clearance in accordance with the statutory procedures, the affected occupiers will be further notified.
As with other freezing surveys, the target is to complete the survey as quickly as possible. The Lands Department currently expects that it will take at least a number of days to complete the survey of the vast areas covered by the two proposed NDAs. Given the nature of the survey, the department will not give prior notification before it visits individual structures. Arrangements will be made to contact separately any occupants of structures who are not present on-site during the visits. Enquiries about the survey can be directed to the Lands Department via the Lands Department Hotline (Tel: 3516 8233) from 9am to 12.30pm and from 2pm to 5.30pm from Mondays to Fridays (except general holidays).
Ends/Thursday, January 16, 2014
Issued at HKT 13:35