16/4/2018-6

Public-private partnerships to develop farmland options provoke controversy

The short- and medium-term recommendations of the Land Supply Task Force’s report include the use of privately owned agricultural land in the New Territories for public and private development. This has led to questions about whether or not interest will be conveyed. The chairman of the group, Huang Yuanhui, proposed the establishment of an independent agency to deal with the misconduct of officials and businesses. For controversial private pleasure ground lands (contracted land), the group suggested that the community could consider releasing individual land for other purposes or relocating individual facilities. The operators indicated their opposition. Ming Pao reporter

The report mentioned that large-scale developers currently hold a total of no less than 1,000 hectares of farmland in the New Territories, which is equivalent to a quarter of the total area of ​​public-private housing (excluding rural homes) in Hong Kong and believes that the development of farmland will benefit housing supply. The report proposes that if the “Lands Recovery Ordinance" must first determine that land has “public use" to recover, there are certain difficulties. It is proposed to develop agricultural land through the development model of public-private cooperation, and the government must bear the cost of supporting infrastructure, including roads, water and flood protection facilities. Wait.

The real estate developers welcomed the cooperation with the government earlier in the opening ceremony. SHKP said that there are 3 pieces of land suitable for the first sale on the car last month. According to the information, SHKP holds more than 1,000 gangs of Changchun New Village in Kam Tin, Yuen Long, and involving 1300 partners. The Sha Tin Powdered Poria Project has been approved by the Town Planning Board for residential development. Another real estate developer has consistently involved almost 800 gangs in the Jiakeng project in Dapu. In October last year, the city’s regulator passed the concept of public-private partnership. In the project of Nanshengwei in another proposed development site, due to wetland conservation issues, the Group did not apply for approval from the Town Planning Board for many years. The Group stated last year that it can increase the number of public-private partnerships by increasing the number of 500 government-owned projects to 1,000. Hengdi Vice Chairman Li Jiacheng said yesterday that if it is commercially viable, it will support cooperation (see separate release).

Regarding how to get rid of doubts about the collusion between the government and the business, the Land Supply Task Force Huang Yuanhui suggested that the government could set up an independent agency to ensure that public funds and infrastructure investment can be exchanged for a certain percentage of public housing units through a socially approved mechanism. Chen Jianqing, a member of the local research community, believes that the report does not recommend citing the Land Resumption Ordinance on the grounds that it is difficult to establish “public use" of the land. This raises the question of the government’s handling of the agricultural land “implied as private use" and favours the business community. The perception and the fact that even if an independent agency handles it, it has not solved the collusion between the government and the business.

Local Research Institute: Cannot Solve Concerns

The group report also touched on contractual land. The report pointed out that 27 contracted land sites in Hong Kong are held by private sports clubs and occupy an area of ​​about 341 hectares. The group recommends that the community consider releasing individual sites for other uses or relocating individual facilities. The report uses the socially heated Fanling Stadium as an example. It refers to the 172-hectare field near the MTR station. If there is a partial development, it can construct 32,600 hectares of 4,600 residential units; if it is fully developed, the stadium can provide 13,000. Units that accommodate 37,000 people and provide 12,000 jobs. The Hong Kong Golf Club and Jilin Hua Muqiu Club, which operates the stadium, responded to the enquiry of this newspaper to indicate that they opposed the government’s resumption of land.