Development of land should avoid “chicken and eggs"

Development of land should avoid “chicken and eggs"

The shortage of supply land for development in Hong Kong is an indisputable fact. How to increase land supply has become a hot topic. The size of the brownfields in the New Territories is huge. Many people think that the development of brownfields should be the first option to increase land supply. Earlier, the former president of the Society of Surveyors proposed a “two-part" approach to the application for change planning purposes in the New Territories brownfield. It is suggested that the Town Planning Board should first approve the concept of developing residential proposals. If the concept plan is feasible, then At the stage, the applicants are required to obtain a variety of technical reports for detailed examination and finalization. The main point of this proposal is that brownfield owners can spend a large sum of money on various technical assessments after obtaining the principled consent of the Town Planning Board to reduce the risk of spending money.

The author asked the senior planners about the feasibility of the above proposal. They all laughed that in the current political environment, there is no data support, and who dares to grant development licenses to developers.

Under the existing mechanism, owners can apply to the Town Planning Board for amendments to planning purposes in accordance with section 12A of the Town Planning Ordinance. The Ordinance does not specify the technical assessment report to be submitted when the application is submitted. However, according to the “Application Notes" issued by the Town Planning Board, if the application involves an impact on the environment, drainage, traffic, infrastructure, landscape and terrain, the applicant should Submit a technical assessment report on the impact.

After the Town Planning Board receives the application, the application documents will be forwarded by the Planning Department to the relevant technical departments for review and solicitation. For example, the Transport Department will review the traffic assessment report submitted by the applicant and provide a conditional or unconditional support for the approval of the application. The conclusion.

Therefore, according to the current mechanism, if the applicant does not submit any technical assessment report, the Planning Department cannot ask other technical departments to provide advice on the application, and the department cannot conduct relevant technical assessment on behalf of the applicant. In today’s political and ecological environment, departments will not support the approval of the relevant applications in principle. Without the statement of various technical departments, what is the basis for the Planning Department to recommend whether the Town Planning Board approves the concept of development proposals in principle?

If the Town Planning Board approves the development concept in principle, the applicant will spend a large amount of money on various technical reports in the future, but if the technical assessment fails to meet the standard and eventually fails to obtain the development permit, will the applicant complain about the Town Planning Board? “Dependence"? Or let the technical department that does not support the project to bear the pressure of the thousands of people? On the other hand, will the public and politicians accuse the Town Planning Board of approving a developer’s project without the support of technical data? I am afraid that the Town Planning Board will “two sides are not people".

It is foolish to apply to the government for development licenses or negotiate the amount of land premiums. It is foolish to consider only the unilateral interests of the clients, because one-way thinking is unlikely to reach an agreement with the government. Therefore, in the process, we must consider the issue from the perspective of government technical officials. Think about how they would accept the advice to the Secretary, the Audit Commission and the public. If they can’t explain, your customers will never get the results. The current technical report for applying for a change of planning can be said to be the rationale for the developer to provide the technical department and the Town Planning Board for approval of the development project.

The New Territories brownfields are scattered in many areas, most of which do not have sufficient infrastructure to cope with higher-density development projects, and some have ecological conservation value areas nearby. Brownfield owners want to develop land and spend huge sums of money to obtain various technical reports. It is indispensable for the Town Planning Board to approve its development proposals. This is also a problem of chicken eggs and eggs. Based on the extremely lucrative development profits, the early technical report fees are only a fraction of the huge development costs. Therefore, although the developers are not necessarily winning, they are still willing to participate in this small game.