URA issues special offers to occupiers of unauthorised building structures in Kwun Tong Town Centre Project
In consideration of the special circumstances of the unauthorised building structures (UBTs) on the private land in Development Area 5 of the Kwun Tong Town Centre Project (the Project), the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) today (Friday) introduced to the Kwun Tong Development and Renewal Task Force of Kwun Tong District Council the special offer package (the Package) formulated for the UBT occupiers. The URA will issue offer letters and the related documents to the registered addresses of the UBT occupiers by registered post shortly.
The URA has all along been adopting the established acquisition and rehousing policies in determining the acquisition offers to properties with a registered title, which are based on the market value of the properties concerned plus an appropriate allowance. However, the UBTs in the Development Area 5 of the Project are without registered titles and might have contravened the provisions of the Buildings Ordinance. Furthermore, as the passageway concerned is designated as public passageway in the land grant of the buildings, those UBTs are also in breach of the stipulated use in the land grant. Due to these circumstances, the URA cannot apply its prevailing acquisition and rehousing policies in handling these UBTs.
The URA conducted a questionnaire survey in March and April this year to gauge the UBT occupiers’ expectations and opinions on relocation, followed by screening of the UBT occupiers and measurement of the sizes of UBTs with an aim to collect information about the occupiers and the occupancy status of the UBTs. All these information enable the URA to formulate a package applicable to the special circumstances of the UBTs.
Considering the fact that the UBTs have occupied the site for many years and the impact brought by the Project on these occupiers in Development Area 5, the URA has adopted a “people-oriented” approach in formulating the one-off special package to resolve the problem of the UBTs and assist the occupiers in their relocation. The framework of the Package was approved by the URA Board on 24 July 2018.
The framework of the Package, which is one-off and only applicable to these UBTs, entails the major principles as follows:
- to mitigate the economic impact of relocation on these occupiers;
- to calculate the allowance for individual UBT occupiers based on the location, size, usage, occupancy status and operation tenure of the UBT; and
- to offer the option of relocation arrangement to eligible UBT occupiers.
In accordance with the three principles, the Ad Hoc Committee under the URA Board formulated the detailed terms of offers and relocation arrangements of the Package on 20 August 2018 comprising the following elements:
- to offer appropriate basic allowance, subject to a ceiling, to the operators, self-used operators and holders of UBTs;
- to offer an allowance, subject to a ceiling, to the operator and self-used operator in proportion to the number of years of operation of their business;
- eligible operators and self-used operators will be offered relocation allowance and relocation arrangement. Those opting for relocation arrangement will be able to rent reserved shop premises in the future commercial podium in the Development Areas 2 and 3 of the Project to continue their business at a concessionary rate, set at 50% of the prevailing rateable value or 50% of market value, in case rateable value is not available, for a term of three years;
- to offer eligible domestic occupants and self-used domestic occupants the options of ex-gratia allowance and rehousing arrangement. The domestic occupants/self-used occupants can be rehoused to public rental housing units or units in the URA’s rehousing blocks if they fulfill the prevailing eligibility criteria for public rental housing and have been living in the UBTs as their sole residence; and
- to offer additional allowance to occupiers who accept the offers and sign the agreements before the offer period expires, and hand over their UBTs to the URA before the specified deadline.
The Package is applicable to all UBTs on the private land in the Development Area 5 of the Project whose operators are not licensed hawkers. For those operating with hawker licences issued by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) in the UBTs within the Project area, the URA will work with FEHD to formulate an appropriate relocation package applicable to them. UBTs erected on Government land will be handled in accordance with the prevailing government policies.
Following the URA Board’s approval of the framework of the Package, URA staff members were deployed on the same day (24 July 2018) to conduct an updating survey in the Development Area 5 of the Project to ascertain the occupancy status of the UBTs and the identity of the occupiers for determining their eligibility for the Package. Subsequent changes to the occupancy status and identity of the occupiers reported after the date of the updating survey will not be taken into account in determining the eligibility of the occupiers for the Package.