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LCQ16: Redevelopment of aged PRH estates

     Following is a question by the Hon Frederick Fung and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (December 16):


     The Chief Executive stated in his 2014 Policy Address that the development moratorium at the south of Pok Fu Lam, i.e. the area close to Wah Fu Estate, would be lifted. This area would be used for public housing development and the future redevelopment of Wah Fu Estate, providing about 11 900 additional public rental housing (PRH) and Home Ownership Scheme units. The authorities have said that in considering whether aged PRH estates should be redeveloped, the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) would address the issue of the sustainability and redevelopment potential of the blocks in the estates concerned, in order to better utilise valuable land resources and to increase flat production. Regarding the redevelopment of aged PRH estates, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the specific work undertaken by HA in putting forward Wah Fu Estate's redevelopment programme since HA announced the programme; the latest details (including the timetable and planning for the redevelopment as well as the rehousing arrangements) of the redevelopment programme; the reasons why HA, almost two years since its announcement of the redevelopment programme, still has not announced the relevant details, and whether such reasons include the fact that the authorities had strained themselves to make the announcement to show the Chief Executive's determination to increase housing supply, even though the preparatory work for the redevelopment programme was not completed when the redevelopment programme was announced in the Policy Address; apart from Wah Fu Estate's redevelopment programme and among the estates to be redeveloped as announced by HA in the past 10 years, of the estates the details of the redevelopment programmes of which had yet to be announced two years after the announcement of the redevelopment programmes concerned;  

(2) of the latest progress of the review of the redevelopment of aged PRH estates conducted by the authorities; the updated list of estates with potential redevelopment values, and set out in a table the ages as well as the actual and permitted maximum plot ratios of such estates;

(3) of the estates that the authorities are currently planning or will consider to redevelop, and whether they will commence the consultation with the local residents expeditiously; whether they have made an overall assessment as to how the redevelopment of aged PRH estates will facilitate an increase in the supply of public housing; and

(4) why HA has not announced any specific programme for redeveloping PRH estates, apart from announcing the redevelopment programme for Wah Fu Estate in early 2014 which lacks substantial contents, since the redevelopment programmes for So Uk Estate, Tung Tau Estate Block 22 and Pak Tin Estate were announced in 2006, 2008 and 2012 respectively?



     According to Long Term Housing Strategy (LTHS) promulgated in December 2014, while redevelopment may increase public rental housing (PRH) supply over the long term, it will in the short term reduce PRH stock available for allocation. This will inevitably add further pressure on the Hong Kong Housing Authority's (HA's) ability in maintaining the Average Waiting Time (AWT) target at about three years. The net gain in flat supply from redevelopment will take a long time to realise, and very often towards the latter if not the last phase of the redevelopment. Hence, redevelopment could at best serve as a supplementary source of PRH supply. It is also not advisable to carry out any massive redevelopment programme which will result in freezing a large number of PRH units that may otherwise be allocated to needy households, given the current high demand for PRH. HA needs to consider the redevelopment of aged estates very carefully.

     My consolidated reply to the four-part question raised by the Hon Frederick Fung is as follows:

     In the 2014 Policy Address, the Chief Executive announced the partial lifting of the Pok Fu Lam Moratorium for the public housing development and the future redevelopment of Wah Fu Estate. As stated in the Paper (LC Paper No. CB(1)437/14-15(01)) submitted by the Transport and Housing Bureau to the Legislative Council Panel on Housing in January this year, following the partial lifting of the administrative moratorium on the development of Pok Fu Lam, the Government is exploring developing public housing at six government sites. The developments on five of them, i.e. Wah Fu North, Wah King Street, Near Chi Fu Road, Wah Lok Path and Kai Lung Wan would serve as the major reception resources for the future redevelopment of Wah Fu Estate and provide additional Home Ownership Scheme and PRH units. We expect this would provide about 11 900 additional units which will meet the keen demand for public housing from the public.

     The Government has commenced various technical assessments on the above five government sites at Pok Fu Lam. The assessments cover ecology, environment, infrastructure, transport, visual impacts, air ventilation, etc. to study the feasibility of public housing development. The study, which was tendered last year (2014), commenced earlier this year and is expected to take about one year to complete. Upon the completion of the feasibility study, local consultation, rezoning/planning applications and planning briefs for the public housing developments on the five sites, we will then be able to formulate the flat production, programme and housing types for the individual sites, followed by the study on the redevelopment plan of Wah Fu Estate and its programme. We will consult the Southern District Council and local communities regarding the redevelopment of Wah Fu Estate when appropriate.

     For the redevelopment of other aged PRH estates, according to the aforesaid analysis in LTHS, any massive redevelopment programme is not advisable.

     At present, HA has no plan or timetable on the redevelopment of any other aged estate.  If it is decided to proceed with the redevelopment of individual estate or housing block, HA will, in accordance with the established practice, allow sufficient time to consult the relevant District Council and give sufficient advance notice to affected tenants well before the clearance operation.

Ends/Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Issued at HKT 12:05


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