• Fri
  • Sep 19, 2014
  • Updated: 8:52pm
NewsHong Kong

Developers given up to 12 years to start projects

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 May, 2014, 4:02am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 May, 2014, 4:02am

Property developers and the Urban Renewal Authority will be given a maximum of 12 years to start work on large-scale projects after they are approved - up from eight years, town planners say.

The change is aimed at minimising the risks and hurdles that plague more complicated projects. But one town planner warned of a greater potential for conflict the longer a development drags on.

Ng Cho-nam, a town planning professor at the University of Hong Kong, said the measure would just delay the process. "By the time they're finally finished, the projects may not meet public expectations because of increasing environmental awareness and changing social sentiment," Ng, a former Town Planning Board member, said.

The board agreed yesterday to revise its guideline on planning approval, as proposed by the Planning Department. The change covers both new projects and redevelopments.

Under the old rules, developers and the URA must start their projects within eight years of receiving approval from the board: an initial four years from the date of approval, which can be extended for another four years.

If not, they must reapply.

Now, the board can give initial approval of five or six years; and an extension of five or six years can also be given. That means developers could have up to 12 years to start work on a project.

The department said this meant construction work on the whole development of a project must be under way, not just the first phase.

Board chairman Thomas Chow Tat-ming, who is also permanent secretary for the Development Bureau, questioned whether the change would give developers a loophole so that they could time the work to coincide with a bullish market.

A department spokesman said: "Board members should study carefully the justifications for granting a longer period.

"Members can give the minimum of four years if the justifications are weak."



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This article is now closed to comments

This will make no difference to the cost of housing. Urban renewal is small compared to new towns and is just a building here and there. The developers also have ever increasing wage rates which will push them to move faster.
mo yung
In an attempt to curb speculation and the delay of supply, perhaps it may be a good idea to legally require that the developers, especially those who are counting on infrastructure and transportation improvements by the government to facilitate the desirability of their location, pay five percent of their submitted planned project cost to the government for each year beyond the already generous eight years allowed.
This is bad news, the developers are now given extra time to control the supply onto the market and control prices. They also have a longer window to monitor the economic conditions and hit the market when it's most beneficial.
It seems the government doesn't even care anymore about hiding the cosy relationship they have with the tycoons.
Lengthening time for developers to develope on a piece of land is a bad recommendation by the Planning Department to the Town Planning Board at the time if Hong Kong is truly short of land and housing.
I am not sure the logic in such a move except it is not unusual that government in Hong Kong exists for the convenience of property developers.
When the property developers bark behind the door, government officials act in the public. Unbelievably believable.


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