Land near rail lines sought for flats
Paggie Leung and Yvonne Liu
The government will look for more sites next to railway lines to boost land supply, according to the secretary for development.
'We want to speed up the development of railway property projects,' Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said yesterday. 'The two projects at Kam Sheung Road station and Pat Heung can already provide 8,700 flats. We will need to find dozens of other sites elsewhere that match up with that potential.'
In Wednesday's budget, the government announced plans to make large residential sites at the West Rail Kam Sheung Road station and Pat Heung depot in Kam Tin available for property development. These sites can offer about 8,700 flats, of which 40 per cent will be small and medium-sized.
Lam said the government had discussed with the MTR Corporation plans to identify more housing land along railway lines, both existing and planned. She did not disclose the sites being considered, but the government may need to acquire land near stations for redevelopment.
Land in and around the Kam Sheung Road station and Pat Heung depot sites might be available for development in 2014 at the earliest, Lam said. The two sites will be designated for 'mid-density development', with a plot ratio of 3 to 1, which would mean the sites will be able to generate nearly 6.46 million sq ft of gross floor area.
Plot ratio is the ratio between the total gross floor area and the area of the site in question.
According to the Town Planning Board, Kam Tin South has more than 200 hectares of farmland - equal to the size of at least five West Kowloon Cultural Districts.
Lam said there were a total of around 100 hectares of potential housing land that could yield 15,000 flats, with a combined gross floor area of 10.76 million sq ft.
For the long term, the Planning Department is studying the option of developing about 2,500 hectares, including new areas in the northeastern New Territories, Hung Shui Kiu, Tung Chung and several quarry sites across Hong Kong.
Before these sites became available, those in the Kai Tak area would be a key source of land, offering at least 17,000 units, according to Lam.
James Cheung King-tat, a director of Centaline Surveyors, said the government's move to identify more sites along railway lines was important, as it needed to explore new options for a land-hungry Hong Kong.
Chan Cheung-kit, director at Lanbase Surveyor's, said there were some railway sites in the New Territories that could be developed.
Freeing up the land around railway sites was a quick way for the government to beef up land supply, he added.
Pointing out that there was a lot of farmland in the New Territories that could be used for property development, he suggested the government help speed up the development of the sites that had been zoned for residential use in the area.