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'Silver economy' panel set up

The Commerce & Economic Development Bureau today established the Advisory Panel on Silver Economy and convened its first meeting with the aim of initiating research on the development of Hong Kong’s growing elderly population as a consumer segment.    Chairing the panel, Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Algernon Yau said the elderly demographic was emerging as an important part of the city’s economy.    He highlighted that many products and services designed to enhance the quality of life enjoyed by elderly residents are spurring growth and business opportunities.    Mr Yau added that promoting such products and services can help to foster the development of the so-called silver economy and unleash business potential in the elderly market, whilst also catering to the aspirations and needs of elderly people. He said this would be the advisory panel’s focus.     At today’s meeting, the panel endorsed its terms of reference, reviewed statistics relating to

Land premium arrangement extended

The Development Bureau today announced the extension of the arrangement for charging land premiums at standard rates for lease modifications on two fronts.

 

First, to regularise the arrangement for redevelopment of industrial buildings (IBs) constructed before 1987 with the scope expanded to cover IBs for special industrial use, and second, to introduce a pilot scheme applicable to agricultural land in the New Territories (NT) outside new development areas (NDAs).

 

The bureau said the standard rates arrangement is an alternative to the conventional premium assessment mechanism, so as to provide certainty to the premium amount and streamline development procedures to expedite development.

 

Since the implementation of a pilot scheme to apply this arrangement to pre-1987 IBs and the extension to NDA projects under the Enhanced Conventional New Town Approach in the past two years, the arrangement has been supported by the industry and professional organisations.

 

This round of extension was announced in the 2023 Policy Address, which will regularise the arrangement for IBs as well as spread the benefits to development projects outside NDAs.

 

The existing pilot scheme for redevelopment of pre-1987 IBs will be regularised on the basis of the existing framework, with the scope expanded to cover pre-1987 IBs held under leases for special industrial uses such as leather tanning, garment manufacturing and food production.

 

Upon regularisation, the level of all standard rates applicable to redevelopment of IBs will be reviewed annually by the Lands Department to ensure the rates are in line with the prevailing market conditions.

 

The new rates will be effective on April 1, 2024.

 

As regards NT agricultural land outside NDAs, the Government will introduce a pilot scheme with the first phase covering the new town areas within Yuen Long, North and Tuen Mun districts as well as areas in the vicinity of existing or proposed railway stations within these districts.

 

It aims to steer the market to focus resources on the agricultural land that is well supported by transport infrastructure and better community planning and infrastructure to carry out high-density development, release the land potential therein and expedite land and housing supply.

 

The areas covered by the first phase will be divided into 10 zones. The department will set the standard rates for different zones and different uses before and after lease modification, and the level of rates will be reviewed annually as well.

 

In addition, the Development Bureau will review the geographical coverage of the standard rates arrangement annually taking into account the planning and implementation progress of the railway projects in the NT mentioned in the Hong Kong Major Transport Infrastructure Development Blueprint.

 

The bureau said this round of measures will provide a standing option for premium to be charged at standard rates for around 900 pre-1987 IBs in Hong Kong, to provide certainty on premium amount for owners who may wish to redevelop their IBs and shorten the time needed for premium negotiation.

 

At the same time, the measures will encourage the redevelopment of IBs for special industrial uses.

 

As for the pilot scheme for NT agricultural land outside NDAs, a total of 24 cases will be covered providing around 8,500 residential units in total, which is over 40% of the potential supply of residential units among all lease modification applications involving NT agricultural land being processed.

 

Moreover, approved planning applications will also benefit when they proceed to the lease modification procedures in due course.

 

There were five planning applications approved in the past five years which involve land falling within the geographical coverage of the pilot scheme, providing a total of around 8,700 residential units.

 

The Government has set out the implementation details in the Legislative Council Brief & Practice Notes promulgated on the same day. The level of standard rates will be announced in the first quarter of next year.


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