Surveyors issue rezoning plea
The Government should consider rezoning many old industrial districts to ease the acute undersupply of residential land in urban areas, the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors (HKIS) says.
The institute made its appeal as it warned of the complications and delays in rehousing.
Time-consuming resettlement arrangements have been blamed for delaying urban renewal.
The HKIS also said the recently gazetted Harbour Protection Bill, if passed, would make it more difficult for the Government to proceed with further reclamations.
'It is therefore important for the administration to consider alternative sources of land supply in the urban area to cater for future demands,' the HKIS said in a statement expressing its members' views on the Government's Territorial Development Strategy (TDS). The TDS sets out official policy on future land use in the territory.
The institute pointed to Ma Tau Kok, near Kai Tak airport, as an example of how land could be freed for housing by rezoning.
It said about 11 hectares in the district were occupied by industrial properties, many of which consisted of run-down warehouses used by freight-forwarders and other airport-related companies.
When Kai Tak airport closed they would no longer be required, the HKIS said.
Despite the large numbers of industrial facilities, this area was still predominantly residential and serious thought should be given to rezoning all its old industrial sites for residential use, it said.
The change would give the necessary incentives for site assembly and redevelopment, the institute said.
It said San Po Kong, Tai Kok Tsui and Cheung Sha Wan should be looked at the same way.
The HKIS also said land resumption - the forced purchase of land by the Government - with generous compensation payments and rehousing arrangements could help to ensure a smooth supply of land.
New towns and Chek Lap Kok airport were examples of projects completed after major resumption exercises, it said.
'No good reasons have been given [by the Government] why this [resumption pattern] cannot continue . . . Indeed it must,' it said.