Reply from Planning Bureau re country park enclaves issue:

Dear Sir /Madam,

              Thank you for your e-mail to the Secretary for Development and other government departments conveying objection to the processing and approval of land grants and planning applications in Country Park enclaves prior to the preparation of Outline Zoning Plans, with reference to three planning applications (i.e. Planning Applications No. A/DPA/NE-TKP/3, A/DPA/NE-TKP/4 and A/DPA/NE-TKP/5) for Small House development in To Kwa Peng.

        As announced by the Chief Executive in the 2010-11 Policy Address, the recent Tai Long Sai Wan incident has highlighted the need to take prompt action to regulate land use in the vicinity of country parks to forestall human damage.

        At present, amongst the 54 enclaves without statutory plans under the Town Planning Ordinance, 17 enclaves, namely Sai Wan, Pak Lap, Hoi Ha, So Lo Pun, To Kwa Peng, Pak Tam Au, Tin Fu Tsai, Lai Chi Wo, Siu Tan, Sam A Tsuen, Ko Lau Wan, Mau Ping, Tung A, Pak A, Ma Shi Chau, Ngou Kwo Tin and Luk Wu / Keung Shan have been designated as Development Permission Areas (DPAs) and are covered by 12 DPA plans.  The remaining enclaves will either be included into Country Parks, or have their proper uses determined through statutory planning.

        Under the prevailing mechanism, for sites not covered by any statutory town plans, Lands Department would approve an application for a Small House Grant provided that the eligibility of the applicant as an indigenous villager has been ascertained and the application site is considered suitable for Small House development under the prevailing Small House Policy and relevant legislations.   In processing an application, LandsD would post notices formally on the Small House site concerned, Notice Boards in the village(s), the relevant Rural Committee office and the relevant District Lands Office for 14 days, to see whether there are valid local objections to the application.  Only valid objections received within the notice period will be considered by LandsD, regardless of whether they are lodged by indigenous villagers or not. Other relevant Government departments will also be consulted as appropriate.

        As regards areas covered by new DPA plans, the development of Small Houses within the DPA plan area shall observe the provision of the relevant DPA plan in addition to undergoing the procedures described above.  For cases requiring planning permission, Lands Department will only proceed with the application subject to planning approval.  As a matter of principle, the Government strives to strike a balance between the rights for private developments and nature conservation.

               The three planning applications you mentioned have been  processed in accordance with the Town Planning Ordinance and relevant guidelines.  Your views together with other public comments on the above-mentioned applications have been noted and referred to the Town Planning Board (TPB) secretariat.  Please be informed that consideration of Applications No. A/DPA/TKP/3 and A/DPA/TKP/5 had been deferred subsequent to the RNTPC’s meeting on 17 June 2011 while Application No. A/DPA/TKP/4 for 16 Small Houses was rejected by the RNTPC on 22 July 2011.  You may rest assured that your views have been/will be duly considered by the TPB.

Planning Team

Development Bureau

October 2011