Topside Development of Existing Transport Infrastructure
Utilising the Development Potential of Public Utilities Sites
How can the Space and Development Potential of the Sites for Transport Infrastructure and Public Utilities be Better Utilised?
The potential locations suggestions put forward by some in the community include Pat Heung Maintenance Depot of the MTR Corporation Limited, the waterfront area along the highway in Ma Liu Shui close to the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Yau Mau Tei Interchange, the interchange at the south-east side of Mei Foo Sun Chuen, and the interchange between Mei Foo Sun Chuen and the container terminals.
There are in fact examples of topside housing development above transport infrastructure in Hong Kong. In general, however, the planning, design and construction of transport infrastructure is taken forward in parallel with topside housing development to better integrate the functional uses of both developments and miminise complicated interface issues. There are precedents of building housing over transport infrastructure after completion of the transport infrastructure, showing that the concept is not technically infeasible. Existing transport infrastructure would however pose considerable constraints to the planning, design and construction of topside development. Topside development after completion of transport infrastructure will therefore be more complicated than cases involving comprehensive planning in the initial stage. The impact of the topside development on the transport infrastructure underneath would also need to be carefully examined.
- There are a number of large-scale housing estates built above railway stations or depots, or in their vicinity. The Government is actively exploring with the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) the development potential of the sites along existing and future railway lines. For example, the Government has announced ae residential development above the MTRCL's Yau Tong Ventilation Building, which can provide around 500 flats. The Government is also assessing the viability of topside development over railway depots such as Pat Heung and Siu Ho Wan.
- MTRCL's studies show that the Siu Ho Wan Depot site could provide not less than 14,000 housing units in the medium to long term. Taking forward this development would require reprovisioning of the existing railway depot at the same location while ensuring its normal and safe operation, including the parking and maintenance of trains, along with other supporting services, at all times during and after the works.
In terms of the sites for public utilities, the Government will in general review whether there is a need to retain the land for its original use in accordance with the existing mechanism before the expiry of the land leases. The Government will also review as appropriate the development potential of individual sites, including potential for topside development, in accordance with the planning studies for that area. This is especially the case if the site is larger or well-located.
- Telephone exchanges offer an example of public utilities. Most of the sites for telephone exchanges are relatively small, with only two with over 4,000 square metres and located in urban areas.