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Responses by URA to the 2020 Policy Address

In response to the announcement made by the Chief Executive in the 2020 Policy Address today (Wednesday) on the new initiatives to increase housing and build a liveable city, a spokesman of the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) said the URA welcomes the Government’s new initiatives and will render its support to them. 

The URA makes the following remarks responding to the ongoing and new initiatives as mentioned in the Policy Address and Supplement:

Redevelopment of Tai Hang Sai Estate in Shek Kip Mei

The URA welcomes the support from Government to the redevelopment of Tai Hang Sai Estate (THSE), aiming to improve the living conditions of the residents, while at the same time maximise the development potential of the existing land to increase housing supply.  The URA and the Hong Kong Settlers Housing Corporation Limited (HKSHCL) has explored the feasibility of partnership and reached an initial agreement on the collaboration framework for the redevelopment of THSE.

Taking into consideration the need to rehouse existing residents of THSE and to fulfil the mission of providing more “Starter Homes” (SH) units entrusted to the URA in the 2019 Policy Address, the THSE redevelopment project is planned with the following two key objectives:

(i)     Provision of about 1,300 units for rehousing of existing THSE tenants; and

(ii)    Provision of about 2,000 SH units to be sold as private residential housing at a discount to market value.  Future design of the SH units will take into consideration the housing needs of potential first-time buyers, especially family applicants. 

The planning application submitted by the HKSHCL to the Town Planning Board (TPB) in 2016 proposing the provision of 4,925 small-sized units will have to be revised in order to meet the above-mentioned objectives. 

The URA and the HKSHCL is working closely on various aspects of the redevelopment project involving issues on planning and design, rehousing arrangement for tenants, and construction proposal.  It is expected that details of the collaboration framework will be finalised in the first quarter of 2021 for deliberation and approval at the URA Board.  Details of the redevelopment project will be made available to the public later at a suitable time.

Urban Renewal

Tasked with the mission to renew old districts in Hong Kong, the URA has, in recent years, adopted a “planning-led” approach in taking forward the work of urban renewal. Capitalising on the opportunities brought by redevelopment, the URA takes a holistic view to re-plan traffic routes, pedestrian facilities, as well as greening and leisure areas of the old district, aiming to generate greater benefits to the community at large.  Along this “planning-led” approach in urban renewal, the URA strives to improve the environment of old districts such as Kwun Tong, Kowloon City, To Kwa Wan, Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok.

Meanwhile, the URA will continue to secure its own resources for the implementation of the related initiatives in the 2020 Policy Address and the Supplement, which include:

Provision of “Starter Homes” units

The URA sold a total of 450 units at its first SH project eResidence  in 2019, and earlier in November 2020, arranged for sale the remaining 43 units under the SH scheme.  Upon the close of application at 7 pm on 23 November 2020, the URA received over 4,900 applications, representing an over-subscription of 113 times.

Meanwhile, the URA Board has also approved to assign the Chun Tin Street/Sung Chi Street Development Project adjacent to eResidence as another SH project, which is expected to provide about 260 units for sale in 2024.

Pilot projects to redevelop buildings under the Civil Servants' Co-operative Building Society Scheme

The URA commenced two pilot projects in Kowloon City to redevelop buildings under the Civil Servants’ Co-operative Building Society Scheme in May 2020 to provide some 3,000 units, of which, around 1,000 will be subsidised housing.

For the Shing Tak Street/Ma Tau Chung Road Development Project (CBS-1:KC), the URA has processed all the public submissions received and has, according to statutory procedure, submitted to the Secretary for Development for consideration and approval.

Regarding the Kau Pui Lung Road/Chi Kiang Street Development Scheme (CBS-2:KC) which involves amendment of the outline zoning plan of the district, deliberation of the TPB with statutory consultation according to the Town Planning Ordinance will be required. The URA is working with relevant Government departments on responses to the opinions received, which will be submitted for TPB’s review by batches.

Rehabilitation and Revitalisation of Central Market

With the first phase rehabilitation and revitalisation works of the Central Market to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2020, the URA has started the selection work for the future operator of the Central Market, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021.  The URA aims to kick-start the first phase operation of the revitalised Central Market in the third quarter of 2021.

Building Rehabilitation

For the Operation Building Bright 2.0 (OBB 2.0) and Fire Safety Improvement Works Subsidy Scheme (FSWS) launched in 2018, as of October 2020, some 460 and 2,500 buildings respectively would receive financial subsidies for conducting inspection, repairs and enhancement work to the facilities.  As for the second around of OBB 2.0 and FSWS which opened for application in July 2020, after initial counting, some 900 and 890 applications were received respectively when the application closed on 30 October 2020. 

The Building Maintenance Grant Scheme for Needy Owners (BMGSNO) which was launched in July 2020, received about 3,000 applications in four months’ time till 20 November.   The Scheme will provide financial assistance to eligible needy owners to carry out maintenance works for the common parts of the building as well as their self-occupied properties.

Revitalisation of Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market

The URA assisted the Home Affairs Department (HAD) to commence a feasibility study in April 2019 on the revitalisation of the Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market.  A survey involving over 300 trade operators/workers and some 9,000 residents in the neighbourhood to gauge views on the operation of the market and revitalisation approach was conducted.

Taking into account URA’s ongoing Yau Mong District Study covering a more comprehensive planning for the area, the URA has completed analysing the relevant data from the survey, and submitted to the HAD a report along with revitalisation proposals of short, medium to long term, for consideration and further study among relevant Government departments.