Planning strategy outdated, say experts

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 April, 2013, 4:19am

The city should review the planning strategy it formulated five years ago as it is lagging the rapidly developing Pearl River Delta region, participants in a forum say.

They floated ideas to catch up, including leveraging Hong Kong's strengths in services and shopping, and low tax rates.

Most speakers advocated developing new towns near the border that would complement new developments in the delta region.

Professor Anthony Yeh Gar-on, head of urban planning and design at the University of Hong Kong, said the city, because of its outdated strategy, had not been taking full advantage of the many opportunities presented by the mainland in the past five years.

"The 2030 study was approved in 2007, when the mainland had yet to develop rapidly.

"It should be reviewed and adjusted according to the latest situation," he told the forum yesterday, referring to a government-commissioned study on long-term co-operation with the mainland.

The forum was organised by the Hong Kong Development Forum, which was founded by Ronnie Chan Chi-chung, who is a key supporter of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.

Yeh pointed to Qianhai , which the Shenzhen government plans to turn into an international city.

"Should Hong Kong create a services and shopping hub for Qianhai? People working there can come to shop and then return to their workplaces," Yeh said.

Deputy planning director Phyllis Li Chi-miu defended the strategy, saying it was still applicable. "It proposes strengthening connections with the mainland."