Property development in the territory is bogged down by an administrative system which needs a major review and a radical overhaul, according to the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce. In a submission to Chief Secretary Anson Chan, the chamber urged that government departments involved in handling property development cut red tape and 'fast forward' the development process. Chamber director Ian Christie said that it now took a developer seven years to get a residential project off the drawing board and into the hands of flat owners because of bureaucratic hurdles. He said it could take as long as 14 years between the time the government identified a developable site to the time that a developer was actually selling units on the land. 'This development process is the total antithesis of everything that Hong Kong stands for,' Mr Christie said. The chamber last night said that in view of the ever-rising demand for residential and commercial property, a thorough streamlining of the development process was required. For instance, much time and effort would be saved if developers were not required to submit detailed plans every time they sought approval for design changes from the Town Planning Board (TPB). Mr Christie said this requirement was 'ridiculous and unnecessary'. He said these requests for approval of design changes should require only an 'outline concept' and not detailed plans of the changes every time they were made. He said the Lands Department should adopt a more flexible attitude toward leases and stop its current practice of making minor and technical modification to this document during the approval process. The chamber said this was a common practice which only slowed down the process of development. It said that if developers' master layout plans were rejected, the reasons for the rejections 'should be substantial'. Minor issues which could be resolved easily should not require a fresh submission to the Lands Department, it said. The chamber said that there needed to be greater transparency in the workings of the Lands Department.