Changes to leasing policy not needed, review finds

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 24 March, 2006, 12:00am

A government review has found it unnecessary to revamp the policy on lease modification for private treaty grant sites, which are allocated for specific uses such as schools, charities, power stations and bus terminals.

This comes amid calls for the administration to re-enter for auction those sites where the original use has become outdated.

'You may ask why we would allow a lease modification on a specific-use site and benefit developers,' Director of Lands Patrick Lau Lai-chiu said.

'But any change in use must comply with strict government criteria and be subject to land premium, so there is no specific benefit.'

The finding of the review will be presented to legislators next Tuesday.

The government now considers applications for lease modifications if it is determined that the original use of the site is no longer viable, a change to a better use has already been confirmed through the statutory town planning process and if the applicant pays full market premium.

All applications must be approved by the Executive Council.

Mr Lau said stringent safeguards were built into the long-standing policy to ensure that public interest was protected.