Doubts over housing plan as another district council objects to rezoning

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 March, 2014, 4:32am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 March, 2014, 5:22pm

Doubts have been cast over the government's ambitious housing programme after another district council objected to its plans for rezoning land - this time regarding proposals for more than 2,100 public and private flats.

At a meeting of the Planning Department and Kwai Tsing District Council yesterday, three motions were passed objecting to the rezoning of three public sites - originally designated for community facilities and a small park - for private flats.

One motion was passed to support the rezoning of two sites for public flats only if there was no adverse impact on traffic and community facilities.

"The government was very insincere. They said little about how the traffic problems could be solved. They can't just force us to accept more flats in an already congested area," said district councillor Poon Chi-shing.

The opposition came after Sham Shui Po District Council last week objected to rezoning a green site on the border of Lion Rock Country Park. In February, the department told Tai Po District Council it would give up an unpopular plan to rezone a community site for 150 private flats.

The depth of opposition casts doubt on whether the government can deliver its target of building 200,000 public rental flats in the next decade and 8,000 subsidised flats a year.

According to the plans submitted to Kwai Tsing Council, two sites at Tai Wo Hau would provide 800 public flats. One site next to Cheung Wang Estate - currently a minibus station - would become 170 private units. One site on Lai Kong Street and one to the west of Mayfair Gardens, currently a community site and a small park, would provide 410 and 740 units, respectively.

Poon, of the pro-government Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said the minibus station was too popular to be moved and that community facilities were already oversubscribed.

"One of the minibuses taking residents from Cheung Wang Estate to Tsuen Wan currently provides a service of more than 400 trips per day," he said, while "on one occasion we had more than 40 civil groups competing to hold events at the community hall at the same time."

He said the planning department declined an invitation to meet the council again.

"They said only that the plan would be submitted to the Town Planning Board for approval."