Land and Development Advisory Committee holds meeting
At its meeting today (May 19), the Land and Development Advisory Committee (LDAC) was briefed on the pilot scheme to incentivise private sector redevelopment in Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok through transfer of plot ratio, as well as the legislative proposal to streamline the arrangement for extension of land leases.
Members supported the proposed pilot scheme on transfer of plot ratio in Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok through processing of planning applications under Section 16 of the Town Planning Ordinance (Cap. 131) by the Town Planning Board. Members acknowledged that the pilot scheme would expedite urban renewal as well as release development potential of sites, such as those of smaller size, and transfer it to sites with higher development intensity for redevelopment, while at the same time enable the original small sites to be developed into open space benefitting the community, or other community facilities, or even to be put to conservation purposes. Members also welcomed the introduction of various incentives under the scheme, such as interchangeability of domestic and non-domestic plot ratio. Members suggested the Government to articulate clearly the vision of the pilot scheme and its public good in terms of urban improvement and planning benefits for the relevant localities. Members considered that the processing of applications under the pilot scheme should comply with the established and treasured planning principles such as those related to visual impact and urban design aspects. Members also advised the Government to ensure that effective and enforceable means should be put in place for securing the intended planning gains in the application sites according to the approved proposal. Members took note that a review would be conducted in 2025 with a view to enhancing the operational details of the scheme, which includes the possibility of extending the scheme to other districts, so as to better facilitate market players to make use of the transfer of plot ratio mechanism to expedite urban renewal. The Development Bureau and the Planning Department would take into account Members’ views to refine the scheme and the relevant Town Planning Board guidelines.
Members welcomed the Government’s legislative proposal for extending upcoming expiring land leases in a streamlined manner in preparation for their expiry from June 2025 onwards. Members noted that the Government promulgated a clear land policy since July 1997 to handle extension of general purpose leases (viz. those for commercial, residential or industrial uses) at its sole discretion for a term of 50 years without charging an additional premium but subject to payment of an annual rent. Members understood that the proposed legislation would not change the said policy, but would simplify the extension mechanism such that a general purpose lease could be extended by operation of the law, without requiring owners to undergo the cumbersome procedures of executing lease extension documents as in the existing practice. Members agreed that this legislative proposal would have tremendous significance in giving confidence to the public and investors, as well as maintaining the sustainable development of the property market in Hong Kong. Members suggested the Government to present the messages clearly to the public and continue to secure their support on this important legislative proposal. The Development Bureau will take into account Members’ suggestions as it continues to draft the bill, which will be introduced into the Legislative Council in the second half of 2023.