LCQ13: Planning of social welfare facilities, open space and recreation facilities

Following is a question by Dr Hon Kwok Ka-ki and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, in the Legislative Council today (February 24):


Some members of the public have relayed to me that the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (HKPSG) merely prescribe in broad terms that the planning of social welfare facilities such as district elderly community centres and day care centres for the elderly should be "determined taking into account the elderly population, demographic characteristics, geographical factor, existing service provision and service demand", and do not require the authorities to conduct planning in accordance with objective criteria (e.g. the estimated number of users of such facilities). Moreover, HKPSG simply take population as the planning standard for the provision of open space and recreation facilities in various districts, without taking into account the demographic characteristics which may vary from district to district. The aforesaid situations have resulted in mismatches between the supply and demand of such facilities in quite a number of districts, and people in need having to travel across districts for using such facilities or obtaining such services. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the following statistics in respect of each District Council (DC) district at present: (i) a breakdown of the number of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients by category of the cases, (ii) the elderly (i.e. persons aged 65 or above) population, (iii) the youth (i.e. persons aged between 10 and 20) population, and (iv) the ethnic minority (EM) population (set out in a table);

(2) regarding the social welfare services provided by the authorities respectively for various categories of residents (including (i) the elderly, (ii) youths, (iii) EMs, and (iv) the chronically ill) in each DC district, of the expenditure incurred last year, the current number of service quotas, and the area of the facilities currently used for providing such services (set out in a table);

(3) of (i) the area and (ii) the number of open space and recreation facilities in each DC district at present (set out in a table);

(4) whether the Planning Standards Sub-Committee (PSSC) has regularly reviewed the HKPSG; if the PSSC has, of the details; if not, how the authorities ensure that social welfare facilities, open space and recreation facilities planned for various districts in accordance with the HKPSG are sufficient to meet the demand of local residents; and

(5) whether the authorities will formulate a set of objective criteria based on demographic characteristics for assessing the demand for social welfare facilities in various districts; if they will, of the details; if not, how the authorities ensure that there are sufficient social welfare facilities and service quotas in each district, so that people in need do not have to travel across districts to use such facilities or obtain such services?



The Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (HKPSG) is coordinated by the Planning Department (PlanD). The HKPSG aims to provide guidance on land use planning and development processes, so that land can be made available for different planned uses and facilities in new towns, new development areas and other land development projects. Land requirements for various planned uses and facilities are enacted, reviewed and updated by relevant bureaux and departments (B/Ds) according to their service planning and other relevant factors. Various parts of the question raised by Dr Hon Kwok Ka-ki concern a number of community and welfare uses and facilities which are under the purview of different B/Ds. Having consulted the relevant B/Ds including the Labour and Welfare Bureau, the Home Affairs Bureau, the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau, the Census and Statistics Department, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, the PlanD, the Social Welfare Department (SWD) and the Home Affairs Department, my reply is as follows:

(1) The number of recipients of the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) Scheme broken down by District Councils districts and case nature, as well as the breakdown of the population of elderly, teenagers and ethnic minorities (non-Chinese) by District Council districts, are at Annex A and Annex B respectively.

(2) In 2014-15, the revised estimates for elderly services, youth welfare services and Community Rehabilitation Networks (CRNs) services for patients with chronic illness are $6.1 billion, $1.8 billion and $29 million respectively. The SWD does not have available information on the annual expenditure and floor areas of these facilities broken down by District Council districts.

No service quota is set for services of district elderly community centres and neighbourhood elderly centres which are open to all members of the public aged 60 or above, youth welfare services serving children and youth aged from 6 to 24 in the community, as well as CRNs services. Service quotas (as at December 31, 2015) for day care centres/units for the elderly, Integrated Home Care Services, Enhanced Home and Community Care Services and subsidised residential care services for the elderly are set out at Annex C.

As regards ethnic minorities, all the consulted B/Ds have indicated that currently the targets of the relevant social welfare services or facilities are not differentiated by ethnic groups. Hence, the Government does not have the information on the annual expenditure and floor areas of social welfare services in relation to ethnic minorities broken down by District Council districts.

(3) The area and number of leisure and recreation facilities by districts are at Annex D.

(4) The 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 community. The implementation of an individual public facility depends on the priority of the Government public works projects. In general, factors for the Government to determine the priority include population intake, provision and utilisation of existing facilities, as well as policies and resources allocation of each individual B/D, etc.

When planning recreation and leisure facilities, apart from making reference to the guidance provided in HKPSG, the Government will also take into account the policy objectives for sports development, utilisation rates of existing facilities, public preferences for different types of sports as indicated by studies and surveys, views of District Councils, "national sports associations" and schools sports organisations, as well as the extent of provision of such facilities by the Government and non-governmental organisations, with a view to meeting the demand of the community.

As regards welfare facilities, the Government consults service operators and stakeholders in reviewing the service needs periodically and, in collaboration with relevant government departments, reserves/identifies suitable sites or premises (e.g. public housing estates, government properties, school premises that have ceased operation, etc.) in different districts for the provision of welfare facilities, with a view to providing appropriate welfare facilities for the service users in different districts.

Relevant B/Ds will formulate and review planning standards under their purview in a timely manner, in accordance with their policies on relevant services and the development needs. As an established practice, when relevant B/Ds decide that certain planning standards need to be updated or formulated according to their policies, relevant proposals will be submitted to the Planning Standards Sub-Committee, which is coordinated by the PlanD, for deliberation.

(5) As set out in Chapter 3 of the HKPSG, the planning standards for some welfare facilities are population-based, where others involve the consideration of a number of factors, including the population of users of relevant facilities, demographic characteristics, geographical factors, existing service provision and service demand, and the availability of suitable sites or premises, etc. The Government exercises flexibility in planning welfare facilities in order to meet the demand of people in need in different districts.

Ends/Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Issued at HKT 15:52