21 April 2019
Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam delivers her second policy address in the city's legislature on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters
Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam delivers her second policy address in the city's legislature on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters

HK Policy Address: Lantau reclamation unveiled in housing plan

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Wednesday announced a major reclamation project in Lantau as part of efforts to boost land supply and resolve Hong Kong’s worsening housing woes.

Delivering her annual policy address, Lam introduced the “Lantau Tomorrow Vision”, under which about 1,700 hectares will be developed on reclaimed land in the seas surrounding Lantau.

According to Lam, the artificial islands will be located near Kau Yi Chau and Hei Ling Chau in the Central Waters, North Lantau as well as the coastal areas of Tuen Mun, and will be supported by a new set of transport networks connecting various development areas.

She expects these areas to provide 260,000 to 400,000 residential units, with 70 percent being public housing, and accommodating up to 1.1 million people, and creating 340,000 jobs in the coming 20 to 30 years.

A number of major infrastructure projects will be implemented in the coming decades, complementary to the Lantau Tomorrow Vision.

In her speech in the Legislative Council, Lam said “there is no perfect solution in this world and it would be difficult to forge an absolute consensus” in the community on divisive issues such as land supply, adding that divergence of views “should never bring Hong Kong to a standstill.”

Lam proposed the introduction of a Land Sharing Pilot Scheme, as a move to address the housing shortage in short to medium term. To be introduced as early as next year, the new scheme will aim to utilize the privately owned land plots which are not covered by the government’s planned development.

“Private developers hold altogether no less than 1,000 hectares of agricultural land in the New Territories,” Lam said in her speech. However, with the existing application and private housing development procedure, “the plot ratio is far lower than that of public housing resulting in an underutilization of the land concerned,” she said.

Under the new scheme, the government will openly invite land sharing applications. Applicants are required to explain in their proposals how the private land they hold could, in the short to medium term, bring about a substantial increase in housing flats through means such as enhancing infrastructure, increasing plot ratio, changing land uses, etc.

In addition, the applicants will be responsible for building infrastructure facilities that can support the development concerned, and the relevant cost will be deducted from land premium the applicants paid to the government.

Other plans in relation to the land supply issue include the development of brownfield sites, and revitalization of industrial buildings.

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