The government yesterday refused to commit itself to exempting developers from paying a land premium for minor changes to Hunghom Peninsula, the former subsidised housing project they are preparing to sell on the private market. The Lands Department reiterated its stance after New World Development executive director Stewart Leung Chi-kin said changes planned to the layout of the flats should not require a premium. Mr Leung said that after repeated delays New World and Sun Hung Kai Properties - which took over the empty flats from the government after the subsidised Home Ownership Scheme was mothballed - should be able to put the flats on sale in one to two months. 'We are only making minor changes to the layout, it shouldn't increase the floor space of the project so it is not about amending the master layout plan. We believe we don't have to pay a premium,' he said at a function held by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong. The DAB was launching a six-day roadshow at One IFC in Central to promote its vision for Kai Tak's redevelopment. A Lands Department spokeswoman said the developers would need to pay a premium only if they amended the master layout plan. 'But we cannot comment on the minor changes Mr Leung was suggesting until we see their plan.' The fate of Hunghom Peninsula has been controversial since February 2004, when the government sold the harbourfront flats to the two companies. Weeks later, they announced plans to demolish the estate and build luxury flats. In the face of public and government pressure, they backed down at the end of 2004 and offered to renovate the blocks instead. The renovation plans were initially rejected by the Buildings Department because they breached fire safety rules. Talks on land premium dragged on after the plans were approved.