The Planning Department's hopes for formulating an office property development strategy to 2011 suffered a setback when its survey was greeted by a weak private sector response. To date, less than one third of the polled companies have responded to the survey, which began last month. The department plans to interview 3,000 companies in Hong Kong about factors which influence their decisions on office locations. Seventeen hundred office users in the central business district and 1,300 users in non-core business centres were scheduled to be interviewed. The department also intends to conduct interviews with 89 government departments about the possibility of relocating to fringe commercial areas. Doreen Chan Yim-chi, senior town planner of the Planning Department, said members of management or property owners were prime interview subjects. However, many of those contacted were either out of town for business or on vacation, she said. 'Some turned down our interview requests because of busy schedules,' she said. Other problems arose because the companies could not be located - some were shell companies and wrong addresses were given for others. She said the surveying company which had been contracted to do the interviewing had so far conducted 500 interviews over the phone and 300 on site. While maintaining that the the low response rate would not affect the results, she added the survey would be completed in the middle of November instead of October, as originally planned. The results were due to be announced in March next year, Ms Chan said. Ms Chan said companies would also be asked whether they would consider relocating to such future potential commercial areas as Lantau, Kam Tin or Kau Tau. 'We want to see whether there will be differences between the findings in the Territorial Development Strategy Review 1996 and the real situations we uncover from the research,' she said.