Kwun Tong flat owners in a bind

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 July, 2007, 12:00am

Kwun Tong flat owners have appealed to the development secretary to buy properties affected by a redevelopment project within six months, saying they have been unable to sell or rent out their apartments.

They urged Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who was appointed to head the new Development Bureau two weeks ago, to act quickly to buy the properties.

Chui Wai, the representative for the area's 1,400 flat owners, said the redevelopment plan had deterred potential buyers or tenants from moving to the district.

'Who would want to come when they are unsure of the time for the redevelopment and without help in reallocating?' he said.

The Urban Renewal Authority had imposed a cutoff date of March 30 last year to establish ownership of the flats, with owners of flats bought after that receiving less compensation and tenants who rented after this date receiving no compensation.

Mr Chui said flat owners were also reluctant to pay for the maintenance of run-down buildings due for demolition.

The Kwun Tong project, the largest of its kind in Hong Kong, involves 5.3 hectares of land, will cost the authority HK$30 billion and take up to 12 years to complete. It will transform Kwun Tong into a commercial and retail hub for eastern Kowloon.

An Urban Renewal Authority spokesman did not directly comment on the residents' demands, saying the Town Planning Board was still processing redevelopment plan applications.

Meanwhile, property developer Cheung Kong has agreed to allow nine households in Nga Tsin Wai, Wong Tai Sin, to temporarily extend their stay after filing an immediate removal order.

The villagers had sought help from the Executive Council and the Urban Renewal Authority to delay their removal.

The 600-year-old village was the last remaining walled village in the urban area.