The government on Thursday said it is tabling an amendment bill to Legco to streamline a series of land development procedures, saying it can slash the time needed to turn plots of land into “spade-ready” sites from six to four years.
It also said, for large-scale projects such as new development areas, the time required will be compressed from 13 years to seven years.
The legislative amendments cover six ordinances relating to land resumption, land acquisition, reclamation, town planning, roads and railways.
One of the proposals, the Development Bureau said, is to conduct different land resumption procedures at the same time.
For example, authorities plan to rehouse and compensate residents affected as soon as the Chief Executive in Council grants approval for land resumption, without needing to wait for Legco to grant relevant funding.
The bureau's spokesperson said they believe it is unlikely that legislators will not support such projects, as there is a consensus that land supply should be expedited.
The government also wants to shorten the period for the Town Planning Board to submit draft plans to the Executive Council for approval after receiving feedback from the public.
The administration stressed that the time period for the public to submit views will not be changed, but they would no longer be allowed to make additional comments after the two-month period is over, as a lot of the follow-up feedback has proved to be repetitive in the past.
The bureau dismissed concerns that there was a lack of consultation before tabling the bill to Legco, saying they had exchanged views with stakeholders and fine-tuned some amendments in light of the feedback.
The spokesperson said, for instance, the government had considered only inviting some members of the public to hearings held by the Town Planning Board, but decided in the end that everyone who has submitted a view will continue to be allowed to take part.
The amendment bill will be gazetted on December 9, with its first reading in Legco scheduled for December 14. The Development Bureau said it hopes the bill will be passed in the first half of 2023.