Musicians urged the government yesterday to take the lead in redeveloping disused factories under its management into themed buildings to show support for the development of cultural and creative industries. In the recent policy address, the government proposed converting more than 1,000 old industrial buildings for other uses. Under the three-year scheme, owners who convert factory buildings will be exempt from paying a waiver fee - a land premium reflecting the additional value of the converted building. Local pop band S.H.O.W, speaking at the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong headquarters in North Point, suggested that the government set an example by converting a disused factory in Oil Street into a themed site and rent it to music fans at a discounted price to help promote the industry. Singer Sit Tsz-lung said the band started in 2003 as amateurs facing huge financial difficulties. He and a friend had to come up with HK$20,000 for equipment and rent for a studio. 'It was a large sum of money to me. At that point, I thought of giving up.' Julius Chiu Chun-ho, the band's 21-year-old bassist, said: 'The life of musicians is hard in Hong Kong. We don't have much support from the government. 'I hope the government can offer young music fans low-rent units at industrial buildings to reduce their burden, otherwise there will be fewer and fewer people entering the industry.' The DAB suggested that dedicated Lands Department staff members proposed in the policy address to handle applications for redevelopment of factories provide a one-stop service to reduce hassles. 'At present, applicants have to send their applications to three departments,' said Holden Chow Ho Ding, chairman of the Young DAB. 'It is very inconvenient.' The DAB's home affairs deputy spokeswoman, Maggie Chan Man-ki, also called on the government to relax regulations on applications to convert factories into music studios or production houses, so that Town Planning Board approval would not be necessary.