LCQ18: Planning standards on recreation and community facilities

Following is a question by the Hon Chan Hak-kan and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, in the Legislative Council today (October 22):


The Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (HKPSG) issued by the Planning Department provides locational guidelines for various types of land uses and facilities to help the planning of a development area.  However, some members of the public have relayed that with the growing population in new development areas, the recreation and community facilities in these areas are often in short supply, but it takes a long time to build additional facilities as procedures such as site identification and consultation, etc. are involved.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether (i) the recreation facilities, (ii) the medical and health facilities and (iii) the community care and support facilities for elders currently available in each District Council district meet the respective standards prescribed by HKPSG, and list the relevant shortfalls in each of those districts which fail to meet the HKPSG standards for the provision of such facilities; whether it has plans to provide additional facilities in those districts with such shortfalls to bring them up to the standards required; if it does, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(2) given that in recent years, the Government has sought to increase housing land supply in various places by means of re-zoning, whether the authorities have, when planning for the re-zoning, considered if there are sufficient spaces in the vicinity of the relevant sites for building recreation and community facilities to meet the additional demand for such facilities brought about by population growth; if they have, whether they have made reference to the HKPSG standards; if they have not considered, of the reasons for that; and

(3) as it is indicated in the relevant webpage of the Planning Department that the standards and guidelines in relation to "social welfare facilities" and "recreation, open space and greening" as prescribed in HKPSG were last revised in March 2011 and December 2007 respectively, of the reasons why the authorities have not revised such standards and guidelines since then; whether the authorities will consider reviewing the existing HKPSG so as to gauge more accurately the public demand for various facilities when undertaking land planning work; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



The Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (HKPSG) stipulates general guidelines for determining the scale, location and site requirements of various land uses, community facilities and infrastructures according to the population and other factors.  The relevant guidelines aim to serve as general reference to ensure that, during the planning process, the Government will reserve adequate land to facilitate social and economic development and provide appropriate public facilities to meet the needs of the public.

The implementation of an individual public facility however depends on the priority of the Government public works projects.  In general, factors for the relevant Government departments to consider the priority include the population intake, provision of existing facilities, utilisation rate of the facilities as well as policies and resources allocation of each individual policy bureau and department, etc.

Apart from that, in appropriate circumstances, the Government will include suitable public and community facilities (such as local open space and social welfare facilities, etc.) in urban renewal and public housing development projects, or require private developers to provide individual public facility and floor area by including suitable clauses during the process of land sales, land exchange or lease modification.  The Government can also grant land by way of private treaty to non-government organisations to provide community facilities and services.

Regarding each part of the question, our reply in consultation with the relevant policy bureaux is as follows:

(1) Regarding the recreational facilities, Chapter 4 "Recreation, Open Space and Greening" of the HKPSG stipulates the standards of provision for core activities and purpose-built recreation facilities. Various parties are involved in the planning and provision of recreational facilities. Recreational facilities provided within the public domain include those provided by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department for public use, and those provided by the Hong Kong Housing Authority within public housing estates for use of local residents. Due to the limitation of time and large amount of information involved, we are unable to provide figures of recreational facilities in each district in the short period of time.

As to medical and health facilities, Chapter 3 "Community Facilities" of the HKPSG stipulates the standards of provision. In general, healthcare services are provided on regional basis. For all types of hospital beds in public and private hospitals, the long term planning target is to provide 5.5 beds per 1 000 persons. The HKPSG also recommends the provision of one specialist clinic/polyclinic whenever one hospital is built. For general clinics/health centres, the planning target is to provide one clinic/health centre for every 100 000 persons for future planning. This ratio is to be applied with flexibility to meet the different district needs of a region. The Hospital Authority (HA) organises its hospitals and clinics into seven hospital clusters based on their locations to provide patients with the necessary continuum of services in the same geographical area. Table 1 lists out, on the basis of the seven clusters, the numbers of existing and planned hospital beds in Hong Kong.  Table 2 lists out the number of general clinics and health centres in 18 districts.  The HA will take into account various factors when planning and developing the public healthcare services and facilities, including the mode of healthcare services delivery, population growth and demographic change in the district, distribution of service target groups, supply of healthcare services in the district as well as the demand for public healthcare service and so on.  The HA is planning a number of development projects according to the estimated demand in each district, including refurbishing and expanding hospitals as well as building new hospitals so as to enhance the inpatient services, ambulatory care and various outpatient services.  The HA will continue to regularly monitor and review the utilisation rate and demand trend of each healthcare service, project the demand for various healthcare services, and plan for the provision of healthcare services. The HA will also continue enhancing the service capacity, undertaking the hospital development projects and implementing other suitable measures in order to meet the public needs. Moreover, to facilitate private hospital development, the Government disposed of a site at Wong Chuk Hang through open tender in March 2013 for developing a new private hospital. The new hospital is expected to commission in 2017.  The Government is also considering different proposals of private hospital development at private sites, and will assess the needs of the community in formulating the overall direction of private hospital development. 

Community care and support facilities for elders mainly include elderly centres and the day care centres/units for the elderly. According to Chapter 3: Community Facilities of the HKPSG, there should not be a pre-determined standard for provision of these facilities in all districts.  Factors for consideration in assessing the need for provision of these facilities include the size of the elderly population, demographic characteristics, geographical factor, existing service provision, service demand and the availability of suitable sites or premises.  In determining whether sites or premises are suitable for providing welfare facilities, the location and scale of the development, usable area for provision of welfare facilities, compatibility with the surrounding environment, public transport facilities as well as local views, etc. will be taken into account.  

(2) The Government has adopted the Long Term Housing Strategy Steering Committee's recommendation to set 470 000 units as the new housing total supply target for the coming ten years, with 60 per cent for public housing.  We need to provide sufficient land in order to achieve this target. In light of this, the Government proposes to rezone about 150 sites for residential use, which are estimated to be made available over the next five years in order to provide about 210 000 public and private units. In reviewing whether these sites would be suitable for housing development, the Planning Department (PlanD) and relevant departments will make reference to the relevant standards for provision of facilities as stipulated under the HKPSG, to assess the community facilities and open space of the district concerned, so as to ensure sufficient facilities to be provided in meeting the demand of increased population.

(3) Various policy bureaux and departments will formulate and review the planning standards and guidelines as appropriate, taking into account established policies and relevant development requirements. The inter-departmental Planning Standards Sub-Committee (PSSC), a sub-committee of the Committee on Planning and Land Development (CPLD), is responsible for the formulation and review of the HKPSG. The PlanD, serving the PSSC, will liaise with the relevant policy bureaux and departments in deciding the need to further amend the HKPSG, including the standards and guidelines in relation to the social welfare facilities in Chapter 3 and recreation, open space and greening in Chapter 4.  Among these, the amendments related to the adoption of the latest guidelines on the provision and design of open space and greening in Chapter 4 have been approved by PSSC and submitted to CPLD for consideration. The relevant amendments will be promulgated after the approval from the CPLD.
Ends/Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:16