Tackling urban decay

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 February, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 February, 2004, 12:00am

I refer to the Concrete Analysis column headlined 'Paper on building maintenance ducks issue' (January 28). This constructs a correct conclusion to a problem that came into sharp focus with the Sars outbreak last year.

The Housing, Planning and Lands Bureau's continual fudging will lead to further urban decay. The problem is exacerbated by banks' frugal attitude to mortgages for properties over 20 years old. This impacts directly on the desirability and value of these buildings.

In most places there is no mortgage 'age discrimination', as long as a professional survey is carried out. Indeed, often old properties sell at a premium. Many old buildings in Hong Kong are structurally sound, well located and have superior layouts and space.

There appears to have been a pleasant waltz between the Lands Department, banks and developers to promote new developments at the expense of the secondary market. This biased policy helps create 'slums' and is not in the long-term interest of the community.