Farmland conversion into residential developments being studied

Farmland conversion into residential developments being studied

The Task Force on Land Supply has proposed converting agricultural land held by private developers in the New Territories into residential developments.

The task force discussed the issue at its sixth meeting today.

Chairman Stanley Wong said it is estimated that major developers are holding at least 1,000 hectares of agricultural land in the New Territories, land which could help ease housing demand in the short to medium term.

He said this land supply option can proceed through a new form of public-private partnership, where the Government provides infrastructural facilities in the vicinity of the private land instead of financial incentives to the developers.

“The task force will basically make sure that the financial incentive will not be provided via the concession of the land premium.

“On the contrary, I think in this particular case, to proceed with the public-private partnership is actually providing incentive via the provision of the necessary infrastructure to make sure that the agricultural land in this instance is suitable for conversion into residential developments.

“Therefore that incentive is actually geared towards making sure that the land owner will be able to offer a certain percentage of the site (to) develop into subsidised housing.”

Mr Wong said a fair, open and transparent mechanism must be set up to make sure the partnership works properly to balance private and public interests.

The option will be discussed in a public consultation in March, he added.

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