Review under-utilised lands and speed
KONG, CHINA - Media OutReach - 26 September 2018 - Hong Kong's government should release
the development potential of the land in Kowloon and New Territories, speed up
land reclamation and invest more funds towards addressing the city's urgent
land supply issue, proposed in an official submission from RICS (Royal Institution
of Chartered Surveyors).
The city's premiere global professional body in built environment also called for a
review of development prospects in village areas of the New Territories, when serving a robust reply to
the Government of Hong Kong SAR's Task Force on Land Supply, which launched a public consultation addressing how to meet
the city's land shortfall.
A prestigious organisation representing
the surveying profession both globally and in Hong Kong, RICS welcomed the Task
for Hong Kong: Our Home, Our Say!" report -- while submitting a formal, twelve-page
response offering ambitious recommendations to ensure the greatest progress is made. The submission focuses
on making room for residential land, and increases supply for commercial uses
including grade A office space, warehouse development, and other commercial purposes,
which in turn would facilitate business growth and improve market stability.
land use and increase home density in Kowloon and New Territories
RICS called on the government to explore ways to
increase the density of homes in Kowloon and, especially, the New Territories, bringing housing density levels closer to those found on Hong Kong Island. This should include more efficiently deploying existing public housing
resources with lower plot ratio than the current permissible ratio applied to
private development. Such measures would help reduce the existing 5.3-year
waiting time for public housing, while also addressing
urban decay. RICS suggests creating incentives, such as awarding bonus plots,
to make regeneration projects appealing and financially feasible to developers.
In the New Territories, the government has
identified 3,380 hectares of land rezoned under the existing Small House
Policy, which allocates land for housing to eligible male adults of indigenous
village communities. RICS advocates creating greater development intensity, and
exploring the potential to develop public housing, within existing "Village Type
identified opportunities for further development and increasing home density in
Kowloon and New Territories. Any potential overcrowding, air ventilation and
public amenity accessibility issues can be alleviated by building vertically," said Mr Clement Lau FRICS, convenor of the RICS Land Supply Task Force. "In the New Territories,
there are unique challenges to address regarding Village Type Developments,
especially considering that the Small House Policy is under judicial review.
With that said, we believe the benefits of increasing development and building
public housing in these areas are clear."
Speed up administration
Meanwhile developers often cite the lengthy lease modification and land exchange application processes as the
greatest hurdle in developing private land. RICS proposes a review of the
current process to speed up development, particularly in the New Territories --
where private developers are understood to possess more than 1,000 hectares of underutilised agricultural
land and 1,300 hectares of brownfield sites.
proposes the government should establish a more comprehensive land stock
tracking process. It is necessary to a build a more extensive land bank or
reserve list, as well as a more thorough timetable documenting the various
concurrent lands supply opportunities in process, to better plan for the future
and realise the greatest housing supply benefit.
RICS supports land reclamation as a means
to increasing land supply, but urged the government to "hasten the
commissioning of the necessary feasibility and planning studies".
Moreover, RICS advised that the proposed
East Lantau Metropolis reclamation be developed as a logistics hub, rather than
a business district, in order to aid Hong Kong's regional competitiveness. The land occupied by the current Kwai Tsing
Container Terminals could then be freed up for development as a new "CBD3"
business district, proposed by RICS in its earlier recommendation to Hong Kong 2030+ strategy.
"Developing a container port at East Lantau could offer the opportunity
to build and upgrade our facilities with the latest technology, to enhance its
efficiency and capacity to safeguard it from rising competition within the
region," said Mr Clement Lau FRICS, convenor of the RICS Land Supply Task Force.
funding means greater land supply
RICS has called on the
government to invest more resources in order to speed up land supply
development, planning and feasibility studies -- and supports proposals to create and fund a
Special Purpose Vehicle responsible for propelling land
supply and development.
"Bringing land supply to the market takes considerable time and capital
resources," said Mr Lau. "To expedite the process, we propose that the
Government allocates some of the record budget surpluses it has amassed in recent years to fund these
The complete submission is
available online here.
**RICS Land Supply Task
Force convenor Clement Lau FRICS is available for interview
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