Small-house policy helps maintain New Territories' history, culture, traditions

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 November, 2011, 12:00am


I refer to the front-page stories ('Village demand for land 'infinite'', November 3) and ('Villagers profit in secret land deals', November 4).

It is clear from your editorial ('Small-house policy has no place here', November 4), that you support the government's desire to deprive indigenous villagers of their current rights under the small-house policy for the New Territories.

However, thousands of 'outsiders' who have moved to the New Territories do not agree with the government's position.

Eighteen years ago, no longer willing to put up with the noise, overcrowding, air pollution, tiny apartment and architectural monstrosities of the city, I had a choice to make; either leave Hong Kong or make a home in Sai Kung.

I chose the latter and it has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Property developers, with government support, have made the living environment in Hong Kong Island and Kowloon a nightmare.

Now, Development Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor wants to take land away from indigenous villagers and hand it to those same property developers who, I am sure, are salivating at the prospect.

The Heung Yee Kuk may be an odious organisation but, with respect to the damage that it can inflict, it is infinitely preferable to the property developers.

The government reports that in the past year, applications for building small houses soared to a record high and 1,344 were approved by the Lands Department for the entire, vast area of the New Territories.

Just how does Mrs Lam equate that with 'infinite demand'? The only thing 'infinite' in Hong Kong is the lust of the property developers for more land and more profit.

It is obvious to anyone that the small-house policy is not working as it was designed to work and some adjustments might be required. But the important thing to remember is that the New Territories is not the same as Kowloon and Hong Kong Island.

Its history, culture, traditions and way of life are entirely different and the small-house policy is an important element in maintaining that difference.

As far as possible, the government should take a hands-off approach to the New Territories.

Keith McNab, Sai Kung