Short to Medium Term Option
Tapping into the Private Agricultural Land Reserve in the New Territories
Why Should We Explore Public-Private Partnership (PPP)?
Some of them may overlap with NDAs or brownfield sites, hence the amount of potential new land supply could be lower.
Excluding rural settlement.
At present, there are two main approaches to unlock the potential of large-scale private agricultural land in the NT, namely (i) statutory resumption of the land under the Land Resumption Ordinance (Cap. 124) (LRO), as in the case of taking forward the MDA or other major development projects, and (ii) developers seek to change the use of their land in the NT (for example, to change agricultural land to residential use) through planning applications to TPB, and through lease modifications or land exchange applications to the Government, so as to enhance the site's development potential. In some cases, these planning applications have been unsuccessful mainly due to land use incompatibility or inadequate infrastructural capacity. For those cases which secured planning permission, the scale of development in terms of plot ratio is relatively low.
PPP is not a concept entirely new to Hong Kong. There are precedents, such as certain development projects for the Sha Tin New Town.
- In the mid-1970s, private developers were invited via tender to participate in the development of Sha Tin New Town. A joint venture comprising four developers was responsible for the reclamation, formation and construction of a site of around 56 ha.
- Upon completion, 70% of the land was passed to the Government for public housing and infrastructure development, whilst the rest was retained by the private developers for developing a major private estate (City One Shatin), supplying a total of some 10,600 private housing units.
Regarding the use of private land reserve under PPP to provide housing, the following factors have been suggested for inclusion in the proposed model:
Infrastructure to be provided by the Government
This would involve the construction of infrastructural facilities by the Government to make the local infrastructure better able to cope with the new housing on private land and the surrounding area. This would unlock the potential of the land for higher-density development, for example through increasing plot ratio, to more effectively realise the potential of existing land.
Contributions by developers
If the Government has to invest in infrastructure to make PPP possible, participating developers should ensure that higher-density development is compatible with the local existing and planning context and commit to building a certain portion of affordable housing (such as "Starter Homes" or HOS flats) in their projects. The construction and relevant costs for these should be borne by the developers. This model can utilise land owned by the private sector as well as their architectural and marketing expertise to provide more affordable housing. The proportion of public and private housing will depend on Government's policy and input of infrastructure.
Planning and lands procedures
The existing statutory procedures and land administration policies will continue to apply. Firstly, zoning of the private-owned agricultural lots will need to be changed to "Residential" or others and, where appropriate, the development density will need to be increased. TPB will then exercise its planning-related statutory rights as usual. Secondly, the designated use of the land as specified in the lease will need to be modified, after the developer has made payment of the full market value.
Fairness and transparency
All interested developers may apply to participate. There should be an open, fair and transparent mechanism to ensure that relevant applications are assessed objectively and consistently, with a view to ensuring the best use of public resources and the achievement of public interest and stated objectives of the Government's housing policy. The arrangement is to alleviate any public concerns about possible collusion between the Government and businesses.