Information Paper for the Provisional LegCo
Housing and Transport Joint Panel Meeting
New arrangements for expediting housing-related reclamation and infrastructure projects
This paper describes new arrangements to shorten the development process for housing-related reclamation and infrastructure projects .
2.To accommodate the forecast growth in population and employment in Hong Kong, the Territorial Development Strategy Review identified a number of Strategic Growth Areas, most of which are to be formed by reclamation. At present, a long lead time is required to complete the planning and development process before these reclamation sites and the required infrastructure can be made available for housing development.
3.Statutory procedures under the following Ordinances form a critical part of this lead time-
- the Town Planning Ordinance (TPO), under which any proposed land use shown on an Outline Zoning Plan has to be gazetted and, together with any objections received from the public, considered and approved by the Chief Executive in Council; and
- the Foreshore and Sea-bed (Reclamation) Ordinance (FS(R)O), under which any proposed reclamation has to be gazetted and, together with any objections received from the public, considered and approved by the Chief Executive in Council.
4.At present, we start in parallel the statutory town planning and reclamation procedures required by these Ordinances on completion of an integrated planning and engineering study carried out by the Territory Development Department or other department . We commence detailed engineering design only after completion of statutory procedures. In addition, existing tendering procedures require completion of design and upgrading of project to Category A status before tenders are invited for construction3. As a result, the total lead time from the completion of the integrated study to the commencement of reclamation work can be up to 54 months. This situation threatens to frustrate the Government's commitment to build at least 85,000 flats a year in order to meet the housing needs of the community.
5.To expedite the delivery of housing-related projects, we intend -
- to allow detailed design of housing-related reclamation work and infrastructure to be carried out in parallel with the statutory procedures under the TPO and FS(R)O; and
- to allow tenders to be invited for reclamation and infrastructural work in parallel with upgrading of the projects to Category A.
6.The following chart shows the existing and revised procedures -
- detailed design in parallel with statutory procedures
7.To carry out detailed design of housing-related reclamation and infrastructure in parallel with statutory procedures will mean that the Administration will provide funds or, in the case of major projects, seek funds from the Public Works Subcommittee (PWSC) and the Finance Committee (FC) for consultancy studies for detailed design and site investigation before completion of statutory procedures. There may be concern that this course of action may be construed as pre-empting the decision of the Chief Executive in Council and so lead to abortive expenditure. However, the main features of these projects have been defined and extensive public consultation carried out by the time the integrated planning and engineering study is completed. The detailed design can easily accommodate any changes that may be required as a result of objections lodged under statutory procedures.
8.This revised procedure will bring forward the programme of housing development on reclamation sites by 12 months.
- inviting tenders in parallel with the upgrading of project to Category A
9.Under existing procedure, works departments invite tenders after FC has given funding approval. To expedite delivery of housing-related projects, the Administration will allow all tenders for housing-related projects to be invited in parallel with upgrading of projects to Category A. This will save three months in the overall housing development process, on both reclamation and other sites. This approach will not commit Government to expenditure on construction work, because construction contracts will be awarded only after FC has approved the necessary funds.
10.In total, the above measures will reduce the overall housing production process on reclamation sites by 15 months, and on other sites by at least three months. This will make a significant contribution to achieving the housing production targets set by the Chief Executive.