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Hong Kong housing

170 Hong Kong households in Sai Ying Pun and Tai Kok Tsui to make way for redevelopment

Urban Renewal Authority to redevelop two clusters of buildings covering a total of 30,000 sq ft

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 March, 2018, 10:02am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 March, 2018, 10:02am

More than 170 households will be displaced when the Urban Renewal Authority undertakes two redevelopment projects in Hong Kong, one of which will unleash 5,700 sq ft of open space in an old and enclosed neighbourhood.

The authority announced on Friday that it planned to redevelop two clusters of buildings in Sai Ying Pun on Hong Kong Island and Tai Kok Tsui in Kowloon covering a total of 30,000 sq ft.

The two projects together will displace 171 households and more than a dozen shop tenants to make way for 320 new flats to be rebuilt by 2027.

The authority’s executive director Michael Ma Chiu-tsee said the exercise would provide an opportunity for better neighbourhood planning and more rational land use, especially at the Sai Ying Pun site.

“The buildings are considered to be quite old. There are no lifts, making it difficult for elderly people to go up and down. But more importantly, the redevelopment will be able to greatly enhance the built up environment as well,” Ma said.

The 22,000 sq ft site in Sai Ying Pun includes a soccer pitch, a refuse collection point and a public toilet along with a number of four to six storey buildings.

The pitch, part of a bigger playground, is currently enclosed by surrounding buildings.

The authority plans to replace it with a 5,700 sq ft open space to enhance the walkability and accessibility of the neighbourhood.

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The URA will have to consult Central and Western District Council and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, and obtain approval from the Town Planning Board if the soccer pitch is to be demolished.

The refuse collection point and public toilet facilities will be upgraded and integrated within the future development.

Sai Ying Pun is a low-key residential area made up of traditional shops and small back lanes. A recent extension of a nearby MTR line has increasingly gentrified the area.

A resident living in one of the buildings slated for redevelopment welcomed the plan.

“There is no building management so the common staircases get really dirty, and we have to clean it ourselves. From time to time, the ceiling leaks when it rains,” said the woman, surnamed Fung.

Fung, who lives in a 300 sq ft walk-up flat, said she hoped to be able to afford a similar flat in the area or elsewhere on Hong Kong Island.

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Affected owners who reside in their own flats have an option of a flat-for-flat swap with neighbouring URA redevelopment projects or taking cash compensation equivalent to a seven-year-old flat of a similar size in the area.

In Tai Kok Tsui, the redevelopment into new residential and commercial space will affect a number of six to 10-storey buildings that are at least 55 years old.