on 26 February 1997
ITEM FOR ESTABLISHMENT SUBCOMMITTEE OF FINANCE COMMITTEE
Head 118 - PLANNING DEPARTMENT
Subhead 003 Recoverable salaries and allowances
Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the creation of the following supernumerary posts in the Planning Department for a period of two years -
1 Government Town Planner
(D2) ($102,900 - $109,250)
1 Chief Town Planner
(D1) ($86,650 - $91,950)
The existing structure and directorate support of the Town Planning Board and Design (BD) Division of the Planning Department (Plan D) needs strengthening to cope with the increasing workload arising from the expanding scope and number of redevelopment projects and the District Urban Renewal Strategy initiated by the Land Development Corporation (LDC).
2. We propose to create the following supernumerary posts for a period of two years -
(a) one Government Town Planner (GTP) (D2) to head a new Urban Renewal (UR) Division; and
(b) one Chief Town Planner (CTP) (D1) to head the LDC Section under the new UR Division.
3. Plan D plays an important role in guiding and facilitating the urban redevelopment proposals and projects of LDC. Through its Urban Design, Landscape and Urban Renewal (UDUR) Section, the department advises and makes recommendations to LDC on its development proposals (for smaller in-fill sites) and development schemes (for larger sites requiring rezoning amendments) to assist LDC in preparing submissions of the proposals/schemes to the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands (SPEL) for approval. By providing planning briefs on development schemes, Plan D guides and assists LDC in the preparation of the submissions (including draft scheme plans and master layout plans) to the Town Planning Board (TPB) for consideration. Upon the approval by TPB, representatives of Plan D will, in conjunction with LDC, brief the relevant District Board and affected owners/residents on the detailed proposals and the objection procedures. The UDUR Section will advise LDC on how to resolve the concerns expressed by the public and in particular the issues raised by the affected owners/residents. This aims to reduce their likelihood to lodge objections to the proposals. Furthermore, the UDUR Section is responsible for drafting the submissions on objections to the Executive Council. All these planning activities are complicated and have generated a large volume of work for Plan D.
4. During the past few years, we have devoted some 50% of the total professional resources of UDUR Section to assisting in or facilitating LDC projects. With another 21 redevelopment projects (covering a total site area of 17.2 hectares and providing some 6 900 domestic units) representing a two-fold increase in the number of projects in prospect, we anticipate a sharp increase in workload for the department in the coming five years. Staff in the department will in particular face increased pressure when LDC begins to redevelop sites with a lesser degree of financial viability or those with landuse or environmental problems. These redevelopment schemes entail more difficult procedures and strenuous efforts and require greater involvement of experienced professional officers at the senior and directorate level.
5. Furthermore, following the promulgation of the Urban Renewal Policy Statement in June 1996, we anticipate that LDC or its proposed successor the "urban renewal authority" will undertake some forms of redevelopment for about another 230 hectares of the urban area (81 hectares affecting about 47 000 units and accommodating about 59 000 households and 150 hectares of industrial areas). In this connection, LDC has prepared an initial District Urban Renewal Strategy for 17 districts in the metro area in which it has identified 61 action areas for redevelopment. The verification, co-ordination and review of the District Urban Renewal Strategy call for foresight and extensive planning efforts of the staff of Plan D at a higher and more senior level. The work of Plan D in urban renewal is at Enclosure 1.
6. Under the existing establishment, GTP/Town Planning Board and Design (GTP/BD) oversees matters relating to urban renewal among other areas of work. They include matters related to the TPB, Town Planning Appeal Board (TPAB) and statutory planning court cases, urban design, landscape planning and all matters related to country and marine parks, Antiquities Advisory Board and Private Sector Participation Scheme Tender Board. The wide-ranging and heavy schedule of responsibilities, in particular, arising from the extension of statutory planning jurisdiction to the New Territories and the setting up of the TPAB, has prevented GTP/BD from giving sufficient focus on LDC's urban renewal projects against a background of increasing scope and pace of the redevelopment programme.
7. Responsible to GTP/BD, CTP/UDUR is at present the head of the UDUR Section under the BD Division. He oversees planning functions for urban design, landscape and urban renewal. Due to the delicacy and complexity of the LDC projects, he spends the majority of his time and efforts on these projects at the expense of his urban design and landscape planning duties.
8. An existing organisation chart of the BD Division is at Enclosure 2.
A new dedicated Urban Renewal Division
9. To cope with the expanding scope and pace of the redevelopment process, we need to consolidate and centralise the expertise for the implementation of LDC projects and the formulation of new urban renewal strategies. We therefore propose to set up a dedicated UR Division in Plan D, comprising an LDC Section and a UR Section, to handle all planning related urban renewal matters in an integrated manner.
Post of GTP/UR
10. Given the significant role and functions of the UR Division, we consider that it should be headed by an experienced professional directorate officer who is well-versed in relevant planning policies and practices, and possesses the planning expertise and managerial abilities necessary to meet the responsibilities of the post. He should be a directorate officer of the appropriate seniority and authority in order to establish rapport and work effectively with the directorate staff in other Government departments and agencies. Accordingly, we propose to create a supernumerary post of GTP(D2), departmentally designated as GTP/UR, to head the UR Division and to report to the Principal Government Town Planner/District Planning. The job description of this post is at Enclosure 3.
Post of CTP/LDC
11. In addition, we propose to create one supernumerary post of CTP (D1), departmentally designated as CTP/LDC, to head the LDC Section. He will report to GTP/UR, and be responsible for rendering assistance to LDC in its current and anticipated projects. The officer should possess the requisite professional expertise and experience to lead and steer the monitoring of the District Urban Renewal Strategy. He will participate in the setting up of an information system to facilitate the urban renewal activities of LDC, and consult District Boards, the Municipal Councils, and other interested bodies and committees on LDC's projects and the urban renewal strategy. The job description of the post is at Enclosure 4.
Post of CTP/UR
12.D of Plan proposes to redeploy the existing post of CTP/UDUR from the BD Division to the new UR Division. To be re-designated as CTP/UR, the incumbent will head the UR Section, and will focus on the processing of urban renewal projects by non-LDC agents, matters under the Urban Renewal Policy Statement and on other general and territory wide issues. These include the rehabilitation of domestic buildings and regeneration of obsolete industrial areas, and the provision of planning input for assessing the implications of the Territorial Development Strategy and the relevant Development Statements on urban renewal. The job description of the post is at Enclosure 5.
The restructured BD Division
13. The proposed redeployment and redistribution of responsibilities will relieve GTP/BD of the urban renewal duties. This will enable him to attend better to the work related to the statutory planning, urban design and landscape matters. We propose to designate a Senior Town Planner who will be in charge of the restructured Urban Design and Landscape Team and under the direct supervision of GTP/BD. The revised job description of GTP/BD is at Enclosure 6.
14. The proposed organisation chart of the new UR Division and the restructured BD Division is at Enclosure 7. We propose to create the proposed posts of GTP/UR and CTP/LDC on a supernumerary basis, to redeploy the CTP/UDUR post and to re-structure the BD Division, all for a period of two years. We will review any further need for the two proposed additional posts and the redeployed post in late 1998 having regard to the workload and the future status of the LDC.
15. The new dedicated UR Division will require the support of ten additional non-directorate posts comprising two professional grade posts (one Senior Town Planner and one Town Planner), two technical grade posts (one Senior Survey Officer and one Senior Technical Officer(Cartographic)), three secretarial posts (one Personal Secretary I, one Personal Secretary II and one Typist) and three clerical posts (one Clerical Officer II, one Clerical Assistant and one Office Assistant). We will create the posts through the normal Departmental Establishment Committee machinery.
16. The additional notional annual salary cost of the proposal at mid-point is $2,343,600. The full annual average staff cost of the proposal including on-costs is $4,202,496.
17. In addition, the proposal will necessitate the creation of ten non-directorate posts (see paragraph 15 above) at a notional annual mid-point salary cost of $2,987,550 and a full annual average staff cost of $5,075,304.
18. We will recover the full staff cost of the proposed posts of GTP/UR, the CTP/LDC and the ten additional non-directorate posts, including on costs, from LDC which has agreed to this funding arrangement.
19. LDC was set up in 1988 to promote urban redevelopment. It is an independent body established under the LDC Ordinance to improve the standard of housing and the living environment by undertaking, encouraging, promoting and facilitating urban renewal. It implements the urban renewal programme by developing development schemes/proposals and negotiating with affected owners regarding the purchase of properties identified for redevelopment.
20. On 29 July 1995, Finance Committee approved vide EC(95-96)32 the creation of a supernumerary post of Chief Estate Surveyor (D1) in the Lands Department (Lands D) for an initial period of five years to head a dedicated team to resume land on behalf of LDC for its redevelopment projects. The team has so far processed resumption applications of three LDC projects, involving 780 privately owned interests. LDC undertakes to reimburse the Government the full cost of this dedicated team.
21. In 1996, SPEL completed a review of the urban renewal policy and issued a Policy statement : "Urban Renewal in Hong Kong". The review set out a package of immediate measures to facilitate the implementation of LDC's urban renewal projects as well as to study the proposal of upgrading LDC into an "urban renewal authority" which will be established by statute, financially independent, and be empowered to carry out urban renewal work on a larger scale and more expeditiously.
22. On 19 July 1996, Finance Committee approved vide EC(96-97)36 the creation of a supernumerary post of Administrative Officer Staff Grade C (D2) for two years to head a dedicated UR team in Planning, Environment and Lands Branch to formulate new policies and proposals to expedite LDC's work, and in particular those arising from the Policy Statement. Similar to the dedicated team in Lands D, LDC will reimburse the Government the full cost of this dedicated team.
CIVIL SERVICE BRANCH COMMENTS
23. Civil Service Branch supports the ranking and grading of the proposed supernumerary posts having regard to the responsibilities and professional input required. Creating the posts on a supernumerary basis will facilitate a review of the long term staffing requirements for urban renewal.
ADVICE OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON DIRECTORATE SALARIES AND CONDITIONS OF SERVICE
24. As the posts are proposed on a supernumerary basis, we will report their creation, if approved, to the Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service in accordance with the agreed procedure.
Planning, Environment and Lands Branch
Enclosure 1 to EC(96-97)65
The work of Plan D in Urban Renewal
General urban renewal matters
(a) carry out/scrutinise planning studies on urban redevelopment opportunities including rehabilitation1 ;
(b) identify decanting sites for urban renewal purpose;
(c) set priority for urban renewal action;
(d) establish, maintain and monitor data record systems for identified urban renewal areas;
(e) investigate the feasibility of different forms of urban renewal efforts and make recommendations on appropriate approaches;
(f) programme infrastructure provision in the old urban areas;
Land Development Corporation (LDC) projects
(g) provide planning guidance to LDC in its urban renewal action;
(h) advise on the designation of areas under the Land Development Corporation Ordinance (LDCO);
(i) advise on the boundaries and planning parameters of LDC's development schemes/development proposals and linked site projects;
(j) advise on the formulation and revision of LDC's urban renewal strategy;
(k) prepare planning briefs to guide LDC's submissions;
(l) consult and brief District Boards, Urban Council and other relevant bodies on LDC's development schemes/proposals and linked projects and the interface between these projects with other planning matters in the district;
(m) provide planning input2 to LDC in preparing draft Development Scheme Plans;
(n) advise LDC on the preparation of redevelopment proposals in the form of master layout plan;
(o) facilitate LDC in the implementation of the approved projects including the provision of infrastructure and government/institution and community facilities; and
(p) provide professional advice to the Planning Committee of the LDC Managing Board.
Enclosure 3 to EC(96-97)65
Government Town Planner (Urban Renewal) (D2)
Major Duties and Responsibilities
As head of the Urban Renewal Division, GTP(UR) is responsible to Principal Government Town Planner/District (D3) for the LDC Section and UR Section on urban renewal matters. Duties include -
(1) advising LDC on the acceptability of planning parameters including assessment on planning gains relating to LDC's urban renewal efforts;
(2) resolving promptly land use and design problems/conflicts arising from LDC's projects among development agencies/departments and advising LDC in achieving financial viability of development schemes/proposals including the identification of sites suitable for the new linked site approach;
(3) monitoring planning inputs of District Planning Officers in assessing LDC's development schemes/proposals and setting out the pros and cons of the schemes/proposals for the consideration of the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands;
(4) co-ordinating the provision of infrastructure and government/institution and community facilities arising from LDC's projects;
(5) devising planning mechanisms to facilitate implementation of LDC projects within the statutory planning framework and relevant legislation;
(6) ensuring that territorial and sub-regional planning objectives have been incorporated into LDC's urban renewal proposals;
(7) conducting Liaison Meetings with LDC which are attended by the Director, Planning Division of LDC and his senior staff;
(8) conducting/attending meetings and advising on LDC's consultancy studies;
(9) providing professional advice to the Planning Committee of the LDC Managing Board; and
(10) providing expert advice on the formulation and revision of LDC's urban renewal strategy.
Enclosure 4 to EC(96-97)65
Chief Town Planner (Land Development Corporation)(D1)
Major Duties and Responsibilities
As head of the LDC Section, CTP(LDC) is responsible to Government Town Planner/UR (D2) for urban renewal matters related to LDC. Duties include -
(1) supervising a dedicated team of 9 non-directorate staff in -
(a) advising the identification and prioritisation of urban renewal projects for LDC;
(b) advising the definition of boundaries and assessment on LDC development schemes and development proposals;
(c) preparation of planning briefs for LDC projects;
(d) setting out the pros and cons of draft development scheme plans for consideration by the Town Planning Board;
(e) briefing the affected groups and concerned organisations on the planning aspect of LDC's urban renewal projects;
(f) commenting on the objections to LDC's draft development scheme plans under the Town Planning Ordinance and summarising the objections to the Governor in Council;
(2) advising LDC on the preparation and subsequent amendments of planning applications to the Town Planning Board;
(3) consulting and briefing District Boards, Urban Council and its sub-committees, and other relevant bodies on LDC projects;
(4) assisting GTP/UR in co-ordinating the provision of infrastructure and Government/Institution/Community facilities within LDC's development schemes and development proposals;
(5) establishing an information system for facilitating LDC's urban renewal activities;
(6) vetting the technical submissions screened by professional staff of the LDC Section; and
(7) advising LDC on the formulation, implementation and review of the District Urban Renewal Strategy.
Enclosure 5 to EC(96-97)65
Chief Town Planner (Urban Renewal) (D1)
Major Duties and Responsibilities
As head of the Urban Renewal Section, CTP(UR) is responsible to Government Town Planner/Urban Renewal (D2) for general urban renewal matters. Duties include -
(1) reviewing the needs for redevelopment in all Metro areas and potential urban redevelopment action areas identified in the Metroplan Selected Strategy and Metro district Development Statements studies;
(2) supervising in-house and consultancy studies to review the potential and constraints of all districts in the Metro area in respect of redevelopment potentials;
(3) co-ordinating with PELB, the various renewal agencies and Government departments on the formulation of an urban renewal approach and on general urban renewal matters in a territorial and sub-regional context, including the identification of decanting sites;
(4) providing planning advice to Planning, Environment and Lands Branch to facilitate consideration of the long-term measures proposed in the Urban Renewal Policy Statement;
(5) providing planning advice on major comprehensive redevelopment/urban renewal projects not related to LDC;
(6) supervising the processing of urban renewal projects and proposals;
(7) attending Town Planning Board, Urban Council and District Board meetings and local briefing sessions to explain matters concerning the planning aspect of urban renewal strategy;
(8) preparing development programmes in liaison with relevant Government departments for the timely funding and provision of infrastructure for non-LDC urban renewal projects and assisting in co-ordinating and resolving conflicting issues;
(9) establishing and maintaining data record systems; and
(10) regularly reviewing and monitoring the progress of urban renewal in the Metro area.
Enclosure 6 to EC(96-97)65
Revised Job Description
Government Town Planner (Town Planning Board and Design) (D2)
Major Duties and Responsibilities
As head of the Town Planning Board and Design Division, GTP(BD) is responsible to Principal Government Town Planner (D3) for matters relating to Town Planning Board, and urban design and landscape. Duties include -
(1) supervising the Town Planning Board Section in providing secretarial, professional and technical services to Town Planning Board;
(2) co-ordinating the preparation of Town Planning Board papers including s.16 application and statutory plans; and preparation of TPB guidelines, submission of statutory plans to Executive Council;
(3) handling legal advice in respect of statutory planning matters;
(4) preparing planning appeals including briefing counsels, co-ordinating witness, preparing statements and attending appeal hearings;
(5) supervising the work of Urban Design and Landscape Section regarding the provision of urban design and landscape architecture inputs to strategic and district planning studies, district plan, major development proposals, planning conditions and planning enforcement; and
(6) representing D of Plan at the Antiquities Advisory Board, Country and Marine Parks Boards and Sub-committees, Private Sector Participated Scheme Tender Board.
1Urban rehabilitation is brought about by carrying out renovation work and modernisation of building facilities whichaim at extending the useful life of old buildings.
2Planning inputs are the comments and advice made by experienced town planners based on appropriate planning standards and practices. Planning input in a study process or development proposal involves direct hands-on work such as generationg planning options and evaluationg the merits of each option. Throughout the entire process, the town planners go through each stage including processing the related plans and development proposals under the statutory planning system and undertaking administrative/departmental consultation and co-ordination.
Last Updated on 12 August 1999