LCQ17: Fulfillment of land lease covenants by developers
Following is a question by the Hon Chan Hak-kan and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Michael Wong, in the Legislative Council today (May 2):
It has been reported that between 2000 and 2004, the Town Planning Board approved with conditions the planning applications made by a developer for its residential development projects in Fung Yuen, Tai Po. Those conditions were subsequently incorporated into the relevant land lease, stipulating that the developer is responsible for the management and maintenance of a garden next to the residential projects. However, some members of the public have complained to me that the developer concerned has not fulfilled those land lease covenants so far. On fulfilling by developers the responsibilities under land lease covenants on the management and maintenance of the sitting-out facilities surrounding development projects, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the number of planning applications for which approval was granted, by the authorities in the past three years, with the conditions of managing and maintaining the sitting-out facilities surrounding development projects, and the area of the sitting-out facilities involved in each approval;
(2) whether the authorities received complaints in the past three years about developers failing to fulfill the relevant land lease covenants; if so, of the number of such cases and the details of each case; and
(3) whether it has issued warning letters to those developers in (2) who failed to fulfill the relevant land lease covenants; if so:
(i) of the number and other details;
(ii) in respect of those developers who made rectifications, of the time lapse after warning letters were issued to them and before they did so;
(iii) of the number of developers who have not made any rectifications after the deadlines concerned; the average time lapse before further actions were taken by the authorities; and
(iv) of the number of developers who have not made rectifications even after the authorities had taken further actions; whether the authorities will consider recovering the sites concerned by invoking the relevant land lease covenants; if so, of the area of the site involved in each case; if not, the other measures in place to press the developers to fulfill the relevant land lease covenants?
Regarding the development project in Fung Yuen, Tai Po, the planning application earlier approved by the Town Planning Board (TPB) allows residential development at the private lot concerned on condition that the developer must maintain part of the land for agricultural purposes, and submit a Detailed Maintenance and Management Plan (DMP) for the agricultural portion where the relevant proposals outlined in the DMP must be implemented to the satisfaction of the Director of Planning or of the TPB. Under the aforesaid planning application, there is no requirement for the agricultural portion and the garden thereon to be made available for public use. Hence the agricultural portion is not by nature a public open space. The relevant planning requirements have been incorporated in the land lease. The Lands Department (LandsD) is following up the complaints about the management and maintenance of the garden concerned.
For those cases similar to that in Fung Yuen (i.e. part of the land is required to be used for agricultural purposes under the planning permission and relevant lease conditions), we do not have readily available information.
In general, the LandsD will follow up the relevant complaints by conducting on-site inspection and clarifying with the owners and/or the management companies in respect of the problems encountered and the relevant requirements. Depending on practical circumstances, the LandsD may in individual cases seek legal advice on the breaching of lease conditions with a view to issuing warning letters to urge for rectification. The LandsD will subsequently conduct follow-up visits or undertake monitoring or investigative actions so as to ensure that any non-compliance situation has been rectified. For cases that involve major breaches of lease conditions, the LandsD reserves all rights to re-enter the land lots concerned.
Ends/Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Issued at HKT 14:45