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Responses by URA to 2021 Policy Address

In response to the announcement made by the Chief Executive in the 2021 Policy Address today (6 October 2021) on the new initiatives to enhance urban renewal, the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) said the URA welcomes the new initiatives that aims to speed up the pace and enhance the effectiveness of urban renewal.

URA Chairman, Mr Chow Chung-kong, said, “The URA supports Government’s new initiatives in relation to urban renewal.  We welcome the Government’s endorsement of URA’s district-based approach for Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok, including piloting planning tools such as transfer of plot ratio and street consolidation.

The URA accepts the Government’s request to commence district studies for the Tsuen Wan and Sham Shui Po old districts, as mentioned in the Policy Address.  The studies for these two districts will commence upon deliberation and approval by the URA Board.

The URA is pleased to learn that the Executive Council has approved the redevelopment of the Tai Hang Sai Estate by the URA in conjunction with the Hong Kong Settlers Housing Corporation Limited (HKSHCL).  Under the cooperation agreement between the two organisations, the HKSHCL is responsible for formulating the tenant’s settlement plan, including their moving back upon completion of the redevelopment.  The URA is responsible for undertaking the planning, design and redevelopment work. The Master Layout Plan has already been completed and will be submitted to the Town Planning Board (TPB) later this month.  The project will provide over 3,300 new flats after redevelopment; of them, approximately 2,000 units will be sold by the URA as Starter Homes.”

The following are more detailed response to the initiatives related to urban renewal as mentioned in the Policy Address and Supplement:

New Initiatives

The District Study for Yau Mai Tei and Mong Kok (YMDS)
The URA has completed the YMDS in which a MRCP has been developed with recommendations for a number of development nodes and new planning tools. By way of enhancing the efficiency of land use and the redevelopment potential in the two districts, the study aims to establish an implementation mechanism for the sustainable development of urban renewal.

Based on the premise of the “positive” option of the MRCP (i.e. increase the overall development intensity), the URA will work towards generating an increase in gross floor area within the infrastructural limits and planning capacity.  The URA will start applying the new planning tools in relevant projects, where applicable, which will be incorporated into the Corporate Plan. Meanwhile, the URA will implement redevelopment projects within the Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok districts as soon as possible, so as to set a reference for the industry for applying the new planning tools in private-led redevelopment projects, stepping up the urban renewal momentum.

On the other side, the URA will work with the relevant government bureau and departments to formulate the implementation details in applying the tools in the private market, with consultation to be conducted with the professional institutes, the development sector and other stakeholders on relevant matter.

District Studies for Tsuen Wan and Sham Shui Po
The URA will commence district studies for the Tsuen Wan and Sham Shui Po old districts to review aspects in the land use, road planning, open space and community facilities, and will map out blueprints for restructuring and replanning, hence the urban renewal plans. 

Currently, the usable plot ratio of buildings in Tsuen Wan old area is generally low while many of them facing the problems of ageing and disrepair.  The URA will identify lands within the district with restructuring and replanning potential, and adopt the new planning tools proposed by the YMDS to formulate a more effective urban renewal plan for the old district.  In addition, the URA will leverage the opportunity to improve the adjacent areas and create synergy between developments.  As regards the Sham Shui Po old district, the URA will apply the past experience in regenerating this district and the “Single Site, Multiple Uses” model in its recent commencement of the Kim Shin Lane/Fuk Wa Street Development Project and Cheung Wah Street/Cheung Sha Wan Road Development Scheme, to enhance the development potential of lands under the new planning tools so as to improve the overall built environment.

Major Progress of Policy Addresses Initiatives since July 2017

Provision of Starter Homes units
Two redevelopment projects have been launched to provide a total of 2,260 Starter Homes (SH) units. These include:

  1. The redevelopment project at Chun Tin Street/Sung Chi Street (KC-008(A)) in the vicinity of eResidence as the “eResidence Phase II”, is now under construction.  The project will provide about 260 SH units available for sale in 2023-24.
  2. With the Government’s co-ordination and facilitation, the Hong Kong Settlers Housing Corporation Limited (HKSHCL) and the URA signed a memorandum of understanding earlier to jointly take forward the redevelopment of Tai Hang Sai Estate.  The Executive Council has approved the redevelopment of the Tai Hang Sai Estate by the URA in conjunction with the HKSHCL.

    The HKSHCL will contact the tenants later to explain about the relocation arrangement and eligibility, along with assistance from social workers for tenants in need.  Meanwhile, the URA has completed the Master Layout Plan for submission to the Town Planning Board (TPB) for deliberation later this month.           

    Aiming to provide over 3,300 new flats after redevelopment, the URA is in preparation of a planning application to the TPB for relaxing the site’s plot ratio to optimise housing supply. Upon completion of the redevelopment, about 1,300 units will be used by the HKSHCL for re-housing the existing tenants of Tai Hang Sai Estate, while the other 2,000 units will be assigned as SH units to be sold by the URA.

Pilot projects to redevelop buildings under the Civil Servants’ Co-operative Building Society Scheme (CBS)
The URA commenced two CBS pilot projects in 2020, of which acquisition offers to property owners of Shing Tak Street / Ma Tau Chung Road Development Project were issued in August 2021. Up to 90% of property owners have accepted the offers upon the expiration date. 

Through redeveloping buildings under the CBS, the Project aims to unleash the development potential of this site to increase housing supply.  Opportunity is also taken to improve the overall environment by way of restructuring and replanning.  Covering about 155 property interests, the URA’s current proposal is to redevelop the site to provide about 640 units subject to the detailed design.

Meanwhile, the planning procedure for another CBS pilot project at Kau Pui Lung Road/Chi Kiang Street is underway.  The URA is preparing the response to public comments received during the two stages of public consultations for submission to the TPB by batches. The URA also plans to carry out a questionnaire survey with occupants in this project to solicit their views and clarify their queries.  This engagement exercise is targeted for completion in the fourth quarter of this year.

Developing transitional housing
In early 2020, the URA Board approved to provide consultancy services to assist community groups in the development of transitional housing.

For the Yan Oi Tong Project at Hung Shui Kiu site, replanning work for the land within the project area has been completed to provide suitable infrastructure and ancillary facilities.  Planning submission were approved by the TPB in August 2021.  The project is expected to complete in 2023, providing about 400 transitional housing units.

For the Pok Oi Hospital Project at Ta Kwu Ling, the URA is putting the final touches on the detailed planning work and an estimation of project cost.  The URA plans to proceed with the planning submission to the TPB for approval by next month at the latest.  The project is expected to complete in 2023, providing about 600 transitional housing units.

Building Rehabilitation
For the Operation Building Bright 2.0 (OBB 2.0) and Fire Safety Improvement Works Subsidy Scheme (FSWS) launched in 2018, some 2,100 buildings (involving buildings from category one whose owners have joined the OBB 2.0, and those from category two selected by the Building Department based on risk assessments) and 3,200 buildings respectively would receive financial subsidies for conducting inspection, repairs and enhancement work to the facilities.  As for the Lift Modernisation Subsidy Scheme, a total of 2,000 applications involving about 8,200 lifts were received.  Approvals-in-principle are being issued to eligible applicants in batches for them to organise and commence the works.

The Building Maintenance Grant Scheme for Needy Owners (BMGSNO) which was launched in July 2020, received about 7,600 applications up to September 2021.  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.

As for the Building Drainage System Repair Subsidy Scheme launched by the Government in partnership with the URA in May 2021, the URA will provide technical and financial assistance to owners of old buildings with relatively low rateable value, thus facilitating owners to organise repair and/or improvement works on drains to improve the living condition and environmental hygiene.  As of September 2021, the URA received around 300 applications, which will be prioritised based on risk assessments to pursue the related drainage works.