CLP to pay more in row over pylons
CHINA Light and Power was yesterday ordered to pay about $1 million interest to a developer on top of $5.2 million compensation after devaluing New Territories land with pylons.
Judge Cruden said it was the first time the Lands Tribunal had awarded interest on top of compensation.
In December last year, the tribunal awarded $5.2 million to Niceboard Development Ltd after hearing the power company had placed pylons on its land in Yuen Long.
Niceboard had agreed to sub-let the plot to another firm, but the lease was terminated when the firm realised the pylons prevented it putting up tall buildings.
The tribunal criticised the Government for a lack of planning regulations which led to the 'rape' of the New Territories in the 1980s.
Up to 1981, landowners who wanted to use their land for non-agricultural purposes had to apply for a waiver. But the provision safeguarding land use ceased after the Court of Appeal ruled that storage fell within agricultural land use.
In a lengthy judgment, Judge Cruden and a member of the Lands Tribunal, M. W. Phillips, said the failure to bring in land use controls in 1981 had led to a 'tragic misuse' of New Territories land.
They added: 'Those who describe what has occurred as the 'rape' of the New Territories may turn out to have erred on the side of understatement rather than exaggeration.' The tribunal awarded the interest after both parties called for a review of last year's ruling.