URA Commences Two Redevelopment Projects in Sham Shui Po Optimising Land Resources to Enhance Urban Renewal Effectiveness
The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) today (24 September 2021) commences the statutory planning procedures of two redevelopment projects in Sham Shui Po. The URA has been adopting a planning-led approach in which a holistic study and plan for the old district are formulated before finalising a project, such that the usage of land is being examined in a holistic manner for restructuring and re-planning, with an aim to enhance the development potential of the area and improve the overall living conditions of the resident through redevelopment. In addition, the projects will contribute to increasing housing supply and substantially increase community facilities with improved standards for sports facilities, allowing more efficient urban renewal with greater benefits.
The conditions of buildings in Sham Shui Po district, especially the building clusters at Kim Sin Lane with problems of ageing, large numbers of subdivided units, and the lack of fire safety facilities have always been a concern. Nonetheless, the redevelopment of these buildings by way of a single-site project has been hindered by several challenges. These include the multiple ownership titles, the high acquisition cost involved, and the existing building blocks having reached the maximum permissible plot ratio for the site, all of which make redevelopment very difficult to implement. Proceeding with redevelopment under such circumstances would create a heavy financial burden on the URA, as the expenditure of the hefty acquisition cost would outgrow the revenue from the new development.
In view of the above, the URA has undertaken a district-based planning study (the Study) in Sham Shui Po under a planning-led urban renewal strategy with a view to optimise land resources in the district, thereby increasing the feasibility of implementing the redevelopment of the Kim Sin Lane building clusters, and realising a holistic renewal of the entire district.
At a media briefing today, General Manager (Planning & Design) of the URA, Mr Mike Kwan, announced that two projects, namely Kim Shin Lane/Fuk Wa Street Development Project (SSP-017), and Cheung Wah Street/Cheung Sha Wan Road Development Scheme (SSP-018) are implemented according to the finding of the Study. He said, “The two projects are implemented under the district-based urban renewal approach in accordance with the objectives set out in the 2011 Urban Renewal Strategy. The URA will restructure the layout of both sites, which covers the government land adjoining the Kim Sin Lane building clusters, to fully utilise the land resources so that through redevelopment, not only will floor area be generated to increase flat supply upon development, more planning benefits could also be achieved to enhance the living environment for the community of the entire district.”
The SSP-017 project involves a total of 90 street numbers of buildings that were built in 1959. These buildings, which have nine storeys without elevators, are generally in varied and poor conditions with a large number of subdivided units. The project is currently occupied by about 2,100 households and 120 ground floor shops.
The SSP-018 scheme covers two sites (Site A and Site B) which are separated by Cheung Sha Wan Road. The land occupied by the Government Temporary Works Depot on Cheung Sha Wan Road in Site B of the Scheme will be replanned for the development of a new government complex, where a new Sports Centre will be provided for replacing the Cheung Sha Wan Sports Centre at Site A. The new Sports Centre will have additional recreational and sports facilities, including children’s play area and gymnasium which are not available at the current Sports Centre, and the standard of its multi-purpose hall will also be upgraded. Sites A and B combined will provide over 38,000 square metres of floor area for the provision of Government, Institution, or Community facilities (GIC,) a significant increase of 33 times of the existing provision of the district.
Subject to the final design, it is estimated that the total number of flats after the redevelopment of two projects will be increased to 1,830 units from the existing number of about 720.
“In addition to boosting housing supply, the two projects are integrated to provide space for improved walkability by building two footbridges across Cheung Wah Street and Cheung Sha Wan Road, connecting Kim Sin Lane and the community facilities on Cheung Sha Wan Road. This will enhance accessibility and connectivity of the district and create more green open space to improve the built environment.” Mr Kwan added.
Site A of SSP-018 scheme will also incorporate an underground car park with 50 spaces for public parking, thereby, releasing on-street parking spaces to allow the widening of the pavement for a safer and more comfortable pedestrian environment. According to the initial design, a portion of the buildings facing Cheung Wah Street will be set back from the roadside to create space for enhancing street accessibility.
In addition, as part of the revitalisation endeavours, the URA will discuss with relevant government departments on carrying out street improvements and beautification works of open spaces, with a view to facilitate the integration of the new government complex, the Sham Shui Po Sports Ground and adjacent recreational, resting, and community facilities to become a community recreational amenity hub, bringing additional benefits to the neighbourhood.
In accordance with the Urban Renewal Authority Ordinance, the URA’s notice announcing the commencement of the two projects are published in the Gazette today.
A two-month publication period of SSP-017 will commence today. A site plan delineating the boundary of the project with a general description will be put on display for public inspection within this two-month period at the URA website (www.ura.org.hk) or the following locations:
- the URA Headquarters (26/F COSCO Tower, 183 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong);
- the URA’s Cheung Sha Wan Office (Unit 1001, 10/F, Tower 2, Cheung Sha Wan Plaza, 833 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Kowloon); and
- the Public Enquiry Service Centre of the Sham Shui Po District Office (G/F, Cheung Sha Wan Government Offices, 303 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon)
According to the Urban Renewal Strategy, the Stage 1 Social Impact Assessment (SIA) Report prepared by the URA for SSP-017 will be made available for public information at the above locations including the URA website. The Stage 2 SIA Report is being scheduled for public information from 10 November 2021 to 24 November 2021.
As the implementation of SSP-018 involves the amendment of the outline zoning plan of the district, the URA will submit a draft Development Scheme Plan (DSP) of SSP-018, together with the Stage 1 SIA Report, to the Town Planning Board (TPB) not later than 27 September 2021. The Stage 2 SIA Report is intended for submission to the TPB on or before 10 November 2021. The information will be available for public inspection at the specified Planning Enquiry Counters from the date as determined by the TPB. Such information will also be made available for public inspection at the URA Headquarters, the URA’s Cheung Sha Wan Office and the URA website until the draft DSP is reviewed by the TPB. If the draft DSP is deemed to be suitable for publication under the Town Planning Ordinance after consideration by the TPB, it will be exhibited by the TPB for a period of two months. During this period, any person may make representation in writing to the TPB in respect of the draft DSP. Approval of the draft DSP will only be granted by the Chief Executive in Council upon submission of all the representations on the draft DSP by the TPB.
General Manager (Acquisition and Clearance) of the URA, Ms Michelle Tong, said at the media briefing that the URA will start the acquisition of property interests and make compensation/rehousing offers to eligible tenants, in accordance with the policy prevailing at the time when the two projects received their approvals from the relevant authorities.
The URA has also kick-started a freezing survey earlier today in the buildings within the project site to verify the number of affected residents and the occupancy status of the property.
As social distancing measures are still in force, the URA will implement a series of infection prevention and control measures during the freezing survey. In addition to wearing face masks, equipped with other infectious control and disinfection materials, URA interviewers have all been fully vaccinated and tested negative for the COVID-19 by the Deep Throat Saliva Tests. Vaccination record and related QR code of individual interviewer will be stored at his/her mobile phone and such information will be shown to the occupants for verification before entering the property for conducting the freezing survey.
Following the commencement of the project, the URA will conduct briefing sessions for affected residents of the project to be broadcast live via an online video platform to explain the planning procedure and the URA’s prevailing acquisition and compensation arrangement to the affected owners and tenants. Subject to the pandemic situation, the URA will also host physical public briefings for those residents who are unable to join the online sessions.
An urban renewal social service team staffed by professional social workers of the Salvation Army has been appointed by the Urban Renewal Fund to provide assistance to the owners and occupants of the project who are in need of support. The social service team can be reached at 3188 2151. Occupants can also visit the URA Headquarters, call the URA’s Hotline at 2588 2333 or visit the URA website at www.ura.org.hk for more information about the project.