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URA welcomes Town Planning Board's decision on Kwun Tong Town Centre project

The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) today (Friday) welcomed the decision of the Town Planning Board (TPB) to submit the two development scheme plans of the Kwun Tong Town Centre project to the Chief Executive-in-Council for approval after completing the statutory public consultation and hearing process. This represents a major stride in the implementation of the mega project.

URA Managing Director, Mr Quinn Law, said: "The URA plans to begin property acquisition for the affected owners, in about four to five months, after obtaining ExCo's approval.  We hope that property acquisition can take place by the end of 2008."

"While ExCo's approval is the pre-requisite before we can go ahead with the project, active preparatory work is now in full swing.  After the ExCo gives its green light, our property acquisition work and Master Layout Plan submission can go hand in hand," said Mr Law.

Because of the huge size of the project, redevelopment will be in phases. A wide range of comprehensive and technical studies pertaining to the project such as studies on traffic impact, drainage and sewage impact, air ventilation, visual impact and environment impact, are actively under way.

In parallel, the URA has been continuously in dialogue with various government departments, the District Council, residents, hawkers and transport operators, and local concerned groups to keep them informed of the project progress and to exchange views on the way forward.

On property acquisition and rehousing arrangements, Mr Law said: "After obtaining the ExCo's approval, our appointed independent surveyors will begin to work out the offer price. In view of the mega size of the project and the need to reflect closely market price changes as far as possible, full valuation and preparation of offer documents may take four to five months after ExCo's approval is received. Once we have successfully acquired properties with tenancies, we will then be able to start the compensation and rehousing process for eligible tenants."

Mr Law emphasised that the development scheme plans and the final project design have been formulated taking into account public views collected during the two-year-long extensive consultation with the community.

Major design features of the project include visionary features of a 21st Century town centre, and increased public open space and greening. There will also be an integrated public transport interchange, grade-separated connections to the vicinity, kaifong-style features such as street shops and bazaar. These facilities will be designed and built for easy access by wheel-chair users.

The Christian Family Service Centre Social Service Team commissioned by the URA, together with our frontline staff, will continue to provide assistance to residents and families who are in need of help.

Kwun Tong Town Centre project, costing over $30 billion, is the most challenging development ever undertaken by the URA in terms of scale and complexity.  "The URA will try its very best to ensure that the project will bring about sustainable improvement in Kwun Tong's social fabric but, more importantly, substantial long-term economic benefits as a whole," he added.