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Hong Kong to persistently increase land supply for housing development: HKSAR chief executive

(Xinhua)    08:12, October 17, 2019

HONG KONG, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong will increase land supply for housing development persistently to meet the public's keen housing demands, Chief Executive of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam said in her third policy address delivered on Wednesday.

In the policy address, Lam called land supply a "thorny problem" and noted the governing team must make bolder decisions and overcome all difficulties with determination and resolve to restore public confidence, including a multi-pronged strategy recommended by the Task Force on Land Supply last year.

Land supply was one of the main themes Lam elaborated in her policy address, which was delivered through video after it was repeatedly disrupted by the heckling of opposition legislators at the Legislative Council (LegCo) meeting.

"The HKSAR government is using its full strength to develop land in the short, medium and long term for our people," Lam said.

Apart from projects regarding the development of existing land, Lam said the over 1,200 hectares of new reclaimed land plus a total of around 950 hectares of planned new development areas, as well as over 80 sites that are in the progress of or pending rezoning to housing uses are all important sources of land supply.

Of Hong Kong's total 1,100 square km of land area, only 24.3 percent has been developed, with land for residential use accounting for a mere 6.9 percent, according to data from the HKSAR government.

"We are determined to create home ownership opportunities for people of different income groups such that they will happily make Hong Kong their home," Lam said, adding the HKSAR government will strive to reduce the average waiting time for public rental housing for families and elderly singletons to meet the three-year target of flat allocation.

The HKSAR government will expedite its planning work and resume three types of private land wholly for public housing, the "Starter Homes" pilot project and related infrastructure development by invoking the Lands Resumption Ordinance and other applicable ordinances.

The Planning Department will accord priority to the study of 160 hectares out of 450 hectares of brownfield sites that are closer to existing infrastructure in the New Territories and assess their suitability for public housing development.

Under the Lands Resumption Ordinance, about 700 hectares of private land will be resumed, of which some 400 hectares is expected to be resumed in the next five years, significantly more than the 20 hectares resumed in the past five years.

Apart from expediting the planning process, the HKSAR government will compress the time needed for technical studies and streamline relevant procedures such as rezoning, land resumption, and engineering design to enable early completion of new housing units.

The HKSAR government will facilitate infrastructural enhancement to allow higher development intensity and prescribe that at least 70 percent of the additional gross floor area gained should be allocated for public housing or the "Starter Homes" scheme.

The multi-pronged strategy includes reclamation in the Central Waters under the Lantau Tomorrow Vision to develope the Kau Yi Chau Artificial Islands which will provide 1,000 hectares of land for Hong Kong as well as space to build a brand-new community for the next generation, according to Lam.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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