Flat-for-flat option under review 'harsh'

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 July, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 July, 2010, 12:00am

A research group composed of twenty-somethings says the urban renewal strategy under review would not offer a genuine 'flat-for-flat' option for affected residents.

The 'flat-for-flat' option suggested in the review of the urban renewal strategy was not genuinely beneficial, said Icarus Wong Ho-yin, a member of the Local Research Community who has campaigned on urban-renewal issues in the past few years.

The steering committee for the review, comprising Development Bureau officials, professionals and community representatives, suggested that residents affected by redevelopment could opt for a new flat in the future development instead of receiving cash compensation. But as the market value of a new flat is much higher than the cash compensation, which is equivalent to the value of a seven-year-old flat, residents would be required to pay the difference between the two compensations.

'This is a harsh condition and doesn't help preserve community networks,' Wong said, citing the price of a flat at Lime Stardom, a recent authority project in Tai Kok Tsui.

The cash compensation per square foot of saleable area would amount to about HK$4,000; the redeveloped apartment is being sold for about HK$9,000 per square foot.

To improve the arrangement, Wong suggested the authority could impose a condition on residents getting a replacement flat that they could not sell it for the first few years. If they sold it later, they would have to pay the authority back - for example - the construction cost of the flat.