Five reasons Hong Kong village houses should make way for high-rise blocks
In view of the public objection to the large-scale reclamation project in Lantau waters (Thousands take to the streets to protest against Lantau reclamation plan, October 10), it may be time to turn to plots of existing village houses as an alternative source of land.
I propose that high-rise apartment buildings be developed on existing village housing plots. In exchange for surrendering their land, village house owners can each be compensated with (a) an equivalent unit in the new block of flats; and (b) the cost of accommodation for the period between the time that they vacate their village house and when they move into the new flat.
To provide an incentive for rural councils like the Heung Yee Kuk to encourage village house owners to agree to such a proposal, eligible indigenous male villagers whose applications for the ding rights are still being processed should each be allocated a right to a unit in the new block of flats, but they will need to pay the construction costs.
Also, all eligible indigenous male villagers born before the date of agreement between Heung Yee Kuk and the government on this proposal will similarly be entitled to such a right – the entitlement will cease for males born after that date; and, female unmarried descendants born before that date and under 21 years of age should also be given the same ding right, as a further trade-off for ending the small-house policy.
The merits of my proposal are fivefold: quick provision of land for housing; quickened processing of applications for ding rights; an end to the small-house policy; a solution for the thorny issue of illegal structures; and better utilisation of land.
Hiew Hon Hiung, Sheung Shui