Land Use and Planning challenges

Land Use and Planning Challenges

  • Villages lack of comprehensive layout plans for development and infrastructure. Within village areas there are no statutory plans guiding the location of developments and provision of infrastructure such as car parks, access roads, toilets, drainage and sewerage, etc.
  • The conversion of agricultural lots to small house developments sees pollution and unauthorized land uses spill over in adjacent areas zoned for conservation uses and country parks.
  • Lack of comprehensive planning of village environs leads to wide spread problems including:
  1. Access roads blocked by land owners
  2. Parking disputes and criminal intimidation to extort fees
  3. Lack of Emergency Vehicular Access (EVA)
  4. Frequent overflowing of septic tanks and flooding
  5. Water pollution
  6. Open refuse collection points which are too small, unfit for purposes, and a feeding ground for vermin and wild dogs
  7. Absence of public open spaces and amenities
  8. Poor hygiene conditions
  • Lack of proper planning for abandoned farmland and fish ponds in rural area is resulting in unauthorized changes of land use including illegal dumping and excavation, storage and unauthorized land filling.
  • The demand for small houses by the indigenous villagers lacks verification and unnecessary expansion of Village Type Development zones.
  • The demand for small houses is infinite as unverified numbers of eligible indigenous males continue to inherit the right to stake their claim.
  • Land is scarce in Hong Kong. The maximum number of small houses which can be built in V and VE areas is around 65,000. However, Heung Yee Kuk estimated about 240,000 indigenous villagers applying to claim land in 2003 (http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr05-06/english/panels/plw/papers/plw0228cb1-986-1e.pdf), and HK government estimated in 2005 that there are 800,000 indigenous villagers including those who migrated overseas.
  • Village Expansion Area Scheme was established in 1981 which is to provide the land for villagers’ wants. Indigenous villagers who do not have their own land can apply for a private treaty grant of government land for building small houses. In 2002, a report in the Audit Commission suggested that there should be no more new VEA projects. Despite concerns expressed by the Heung Yee Kuk which represents villagers, the scheme is put on hold.
  • Despite this, small houses have been allowed to expand to and encroach on open areas and green belt areas with Town Planning Board permission.
  • Some examples of problems:
    1. Tai Po Lai Chi Shan: Land reserved for Open Space for leisure and for access was used for small houses which lead to a shortage of open space.
      http://www.scmp.com/article/625402/villagers-hit-zoning-wall-over-tai-po-park
    2. Sai Kung: Fire and ambulance services, and local residents, were blocked by a land owner who constructed his small house on the only access road.
      http://www.scmp.com/article/691516/villagers-trapped-road-nowhere-again
    3. Yuen Long: Pollution of a local river caused by improper sewage for small houses. http://orientaldaily.on.cc/archive/20080516/new/new_a30cnt.html
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