Hong Kong’s Development hinges on land supply

Hong Kong’s Development hinges on land supply

Chief Executive Carrie Lam today outlined measures to tackle the issue of land supply in her Policy Address.

These include speeding up studies on brownfield sites in the New Territories and making arrangements for reprovisioning existing operations to facilitate housing development.

In her Policy Address, Mrs Lam said it is a logical and natural choice to use the sites for housing development, but it is an option fraught with difficulties.

Mrs Lam shares the community’s aspiration on developing brownfield sites to increase housing supply and has asked the Development Bureau to co-ordinate among departments to advance the study on developing such sites in New Territories North.

The bureau has also been asked to initiate a study on the remaining 760 hectares of scattered brownfield sites to identify those with greater development potential.

With many brownfield sites now used for port back-up, logistics operations, recycling workshops, and storage of construction machinery and building materials, Mrs Lam said there is a need to consider how these existing operations can be handled or relocated.

To unleash earlier the potential and better utilise private land not covered by the Government’s planned development, Mrs Lam proposed to introduce the Land Sharing Pilot Scheme with a fair and highly transparent mechanism.

This will help meet the needs of both the public and private housing in the short to medium term, she said.

To dispel public worries, Mrs Lam said not less than 60% to 70% of the increase in floor areas shared between the Government and applicants will be used for public housing development, mainly subsidised sale flats (SSFs).

The Government will openly invite land sharing applications. Applicants will be required to explain how the private land they hold could bring about a substantial increase in housing flats in the short to medium term.

Mrs Lam hoped the pilot scheme can be introduced next year.

The Government will also reactivate the revitalisation scheme for industrial buildings and allow for the first time wholesale conversion of industrial buildings for transitional housing to address the imminent housing problem.

Mrs Lam said the Government will encourage owners to collaborate with non-government institutions to provide transitional housing to provide more suitable accommodation for those yet to be allocated public rental housing or other grassroots citizens with housing needs.

In her address, she said the current-term Government has restored the housing ladder and revised the prices of SSFs.

But she said finding land is the pressing problem that needs to be tackled urgently.

Mrs Lam emphasised that the improvement of livelihood and the development of the economy and transport infrastructure of Hong Kong hinges on land resources, adding that developing land resources is a daunting task.

The Task Force on Land Supply set up in September, has shouldered the task of forging collaborative deliberation with the public on the issue.

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