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Following is a question by the Dr Hon Priscilla Leung and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, in the Legislative Council today (April 17):
Recently, the Government has planned to build four residential blocks of 37 to 39 storeys on Northwest Kowloon Reclamation Site 6 (Site 6) in Sham Shui Po, which is bounded by Sham Mong Road, Hing Wah Street West, Tonkin Street West and West Kowloon Highway (this site is zoned “Comprehensive Development Area” in the Approved South West Kowloon Outline Zoning Plan No. S/K20/28). It has also planned to re-zone a nearby site with an area of about 0.61 hectare bounded by Sham Mong Road, Fat Tseung Street West and Ying Wah Street from “Open Space” to “Residential (Group A)” to make way for building a block of about 40 storeys under the Home Ownership Scheme. On the other hand, I have received requests for assistance from Sham Shui Po residents. They consider that Sham Shui Po is a densely populated district with many tall buildings, and yet the Government still plans to build “a row” of high-rise buildings on Site 6 which is at present the only window for air ventilation in the district, and this will inevitably create a wall effect and affect air ventilation and the environment in the district. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) on the premise of dovetailing with the sustainable development of the district, whether the Government will conduct further public consultation on the gross floor area and height of the blocks as well as the plot ratio, etc., of the aforesaid development projects, with a view to preserving the only window for air ventilation in Sham Shui Po at present, and to avoid creating a wall effect; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;
(b) given the absence of a large community hall in Sham Shui Po at present, whether the cultural and recreational facilities planned to be built by the Government on Site 6 include a town hall with a 1 000-seat multi-purpose hall; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;
(c) whether the Government has included beautifying West Kowloon and constructing a green city in the broad direction for its land development policy at present; if it has, whether it will review if the undertaking of the aforesaid development projects is contrary to that direction; and
(d) whether the Government will consider, targeting at the aforesaid development projects, setting up a steering group comprising representatives from the Development Bureau, the Transport and Housing Bureau, the Environment Bureau and the Home Affairs Bureau, so as to ensure that the development projects will not affect the quality of life of Sham Shui Po residents; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
North West Kowloon Reclamation Site 6 (Site 6) with an area of about 4.49 hectares is zoned “Comprehensive Development Area” (CDA) on the approved South West Kowloon Outline Zoning Plan (OZP) No. S/K20/28. This zone is intended for comprehensive development/redevelopment of the area for residential and/or commercial uses with the provision of open space and other supporting facilities. The zoning is to facilitate the Administration to implement appropriate planning control over the development mix, scale (such as maximum building height), design and layout of the development, taking account of environmental, traffic, infrastructure and other constraints. The CDA site is subject to a maximum domestic plot ratio (PR) of 6.5 and a maximum non-domestic PR of 1.5.
Pursuant to sections 4(A)1 and 4(A)2 of the Town Planning Ordinance (TPO), any development in the “CDA” zone would require the submission of planning application under section 16 of the TPO and obtaining the approval of the Town Planning Board (TPB). The TPB will prepare planning briefs for the “CDA” zones on the OZP, providing guidelines and important planning parameters (including development intensity) and development standards (including planning requirements for educational, cultural and leisure, social welfare/community and public transport facilities) for major developments. The Planning Department (PlanD) will consult the District Council on the draft planning brief and the TPB will take the comments of the District Council into account while considering the draft planning brief. The project applicant must refer to the planning brief approved by the TPB in order to comply with the provisions under the Notes of the OZP for the “CDA” zone when seeking planning permission from the TPB. When submitting an application, the applicant shall submit to the TPB an environmental assessment and other information as specified by the Notes of the OZP, including assessments on air ventilation, traffic and visual aspects.
In view of the pressing demand for housing land, after taking the overall planning of the district and its surrounding land use into account, it is also recommended that the site bounded by Sham Mong Road, Fat Tseung Street West and Ying Wah Street (with an area of about 0.61 hectare) be used for Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) development providing about 700 units. The site is zoned “Government, Institution or Community” and “Open Space” on the OZP and the Administration will recommend to TPB to rezone the site to “Residential (Group A)”. The existing community facilities or those reserved for future development in the original zones will be included in the future development of Site 6.
PlanD and Housing Department consulted Sham Shui Po District Council (SSPDC) on the above development proposals in March 2013. SSPDC agreed on the development proposal for Site 6 and had no objection to the proposed rezoning. The proposed amendments to the OZP will be submitted to the TPB for consideration in due course.
My reply to the four parts of the question raised by Hon Leung is as follows:
(a), (c) and (d) As Site 6 is zoned “CDA” and proposed for subsidised housing development, the Housing Authority (HA) will, in accordance with the planning brief, submit the Master Layout Plan with a planning application to the TPB under section 16 of the TPO. HA will also organise a community workshop shortly for engagement of stakeholders with a view to taking into account and balancing the needs of all parties concerned so that the design of the CDA site could be further optimised.
When HA submits the planning application to TPB for assessment, the TPB secretariat will seek the comments of the concerned bureaux/departments on the application, and will make available all documents submitted in the application for public inspection until the application is considered by the TPB. Any person may submit comments to the TPB on the application within the first three weeks of the public inspection period. The TPB will take into account the views/recommendations of the concerned bureaux/departments and public comments received in considering the application. Since departmental co-ordination has already been featured in the existing mechanism, it is not necessary for the Government to separately set up an inter-departmental steering group for the development at Site 6.
In addition, micro-climate and environmental studies have been conducted for the project with preliminary results indicating that the current 5-block layout of Site 6 and the adjoining HOS site of Fat Tseung Street will not have an adverse effect on the wind environment of the neighbourhood. Nevertheless, in response to the concerns of the District Councillors and the public (including the comments received at the SSPDC meeting held in March 2013 regarding the development proposal of Site 6), HA will study whether it is possible to reduce one block while maintaining the number of housing units to be produced, and will consider maximising the gaps between the blocks as far as possible as well as maintaining a distance of more than 200 metres from Hoi Lai Estate so as to further enhance the wind environment. This will also ensure the optimal use of the site.
(b) The proposed comprehensive development at Site 6 includes an indoor games hall which can also be used as a multi-purpose activities centre accommodating up to 800 persons. In response to some District Council members’ suggestion to increase its capacity to 1 000 persons, HA will further discuss with relevant departments to assess its feasibility, facilities, the future operational and management arrangements.