LAST year's lacklustre property market did not stop the Government from boosting income from land auctions by about 7.3 per cent to $35.8 billion for the calendar year, from $33.36 billion in 1994. Director of Lands Bob Pope told the department's annual meet-the-media session that $17 billion in revenue was generated from auctions and tenders, $11.75 billion from private treaty grants, such as land for the airport railway, and $7 billion from lease modifications and exchanges. He said he could not say whether government revenues from land auctions for the fiscal year would be higher in 1995 than in 1994. Just weeks ago, the Government cancelled this month's land auction and withdrew two medium-sized residential sites from land sales because of zoning problems. Yesterday, Mr Pope did not speculate on how much revenue the Government might lose as a result of calling off the auction and sales. Analysts have speculated that the cancellation could have cost the Government more than $1 billion in revenue. Mr Pope said delaying the sales programme 'was quite normal', and was due to a procedural problem. Asked how there could be confusion between the Lands Department and the Planning Department over the matter, he said: 'We included the property in the sales programme anticipating that the objection would have been solved by then. 'But there were delays, and it couldn't be solved on time because of pressure on the Planning Department. Mr Pope said that last year, the department's land supply and redevelopment section bought land which would produce 57,000 flats, compared with land with potential to produce 30,000 units bought the previous year. The department acquired 80 hectares of land in the New Territories for various public works projects, including Route 3, improvement works to the Shenzhen River, and drainage works in Yuen Long. He said the department would continue to acquire as much land as possible to carry out public works programmes and urban renewal projects through the Land Development Corp. Mr Pope confirmed that Hutchison Whampoa recently was told the premium the Government expected it to pay for redevelopment of the former Hilton Hotel site in Central. 'A premium has been offered and we are in discussion with the developer and in due course a recommendation will be made to Exco [Executive Council],' Mr Pope said. He said that he had reapplied for the position of Director of Lands, and said that while it would be inappropriate for him to comment further, he hoped his appointment would be renewed.