1,000 extra flats may be squeezed into Kai Tak site, says Paul Chan Mo-po

Study suggests easing construction limits and reducing flat sizes to free up space for more homes in key Kowloon development project

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 November, 2013, 5:07am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 November, 2013, 10:43am

An ongoing government study into increasing office and housing space within the Kai Tak development area has suggested the site could provide 1,000 additional residential flats.

The extra homes could be squeezed in by easing construction restrictions and reducing flat sizes there, the development minister said yesterday.

The study is reviewing the development intensity (also known as plot ratio, calculated by dividing the net floor area of all buildings on a site by the net site area) of four housing sites in the North Apron area of Kai Tak.

"By increasing the intensity by 20 per cent and slightly reducing the size of each flat, the site could provide 1,000 more residential flats," Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po told the Legislative Council yesterday.

Public consultation on the findings of the study will be sought in the middle of next year, when it is expected to be completed, Chan said.

The Civil Engineering and Development Department had proposed a relaxation of development intensity for three sites. Plot ratio would be rise from 4.5 to 5.5, and the buildings' maximum permitted height would rise by 20 metres.

The Housing Department proposes that the maximum plot ratio of the fourth site rise from 5 to 6 and the maximum permitted height would increase by 20 metres. The gross building area would be enlarged from 40 per cent to 50 per cent of the available site area.

"These proposals can provide an additional 33,900 metre square domestic gross floor area, which would amount to an increase of about 22 per cent over the original planning of these four residential sites," Chan said. Technical assessments will be carried out to ensure the proposals meet the original design concept and would not overload infrastructure like transportation, water supply, drains and sewers, according to the secretary.

"We would also carefully consider any possible extra strain on leisure and community facilities, or any impact from unwelcome noise, bad air quality or poor ventilation," he added.

Bernard Lim Wan-fung, president of the Institute of Urban Design, believes it is reasonable for the government to look into ways to readjust the development intensity at Kai Tak, given the serious housing shortage in Hong Kong.

Lim said the city had taken more than five years to reach the consensus that new towns should be more sustainable - a key principle in the planning of the Kai Tak development, which will feature a large park, a sports complex and relatively low housing density.

"But the housing problem has become much more serious since 2007; the waiting period for public flats is doubling," Lim added.