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Current Situation of Planning Condition Compliance in Providing Public Facilities and Open Space, and Give Possible Suggestions to Alleviate the Problem Incurred

Essay by   •  February 15, 2018  •  Case Study  •  2,096 Words (9 Pages)  •  267 Views

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Abstract

Most development approval comes with planning conditions which have to be fulfilled by developers. However, the compliance of planning conditions in HK is not ideal, especially in conditions related to provision of open space and public facilities. This report investigates the current situation and reasons behind by interviewing an expert and conducting literature reviews and case studies, providing possible solutions to alleviate the problem.

1. Introduction

This report outlines the current situation of planning condition compliance in providing public facilities and open space, and give possible suggestions to alleviate the problem incurred. First hand data is obtained by interviewing Prof. Lawrence Lai of Department of Real Estate and construction in The University of Hong Kong, while second hand data is obtained by conducting literature reviews and case studies.

1.1 Background

In Hong Kong, it is a common practice that even in a private development, provision of public utilities and open space is often a essential requirement to be fulfilled in order to get the authority's approval. It is convinced that the intention of doing so is to enhance the built environment of Hong Kong, while they, in return, are granted with approvals of submitted planning applications. However, it is common to see cases of unfulfillment in the prescribed requirements. While profit-driven developers may not consider the provisions bring monetary returns, incentives of compliance drop, thus the public interest is jeopardized while the provision of public facilities and open spaces are not adequate.

According to government documents, public facilities within private developments can take the form of public open spaces, community halls, public transport terminus and many more. As specified in the land leases, these facilities can be managed by the government or private developers on an ongoing basis. The provision of public facilities within private developments for public use may arise under circumstances such as land sale and land grant, involving planning permissions and lease modification.

The provision of public facilities in a private development is intended to achieve wholesome integrated design, optimizing land use and better site planning, bringing forward the completion of the facilities to serve wider need and match macro development proposals.

Lands Department and Buildings Department, as the authority in charge, will scrutinize the development projects upon completion, ensuring developers have fulfilled the provisions required in the land leases or building plans, before issuing certificates of compliances or occupation permits. The departments conduct spot checks and act upon complaints from members of the public, monitoring the implementation of relevant provisions.

Generally, the responsibilities on private developers are permitting the public to lawful use of facilities and manage and maintain such facilities to the satisfaction of the government.

2. Methodology

2.1 Overview

Case study section of this report acts as an introductory section in this report. This section reflects the current effectiveness of planning conditions.

Secondly, findings are based on a comprehensive analysis on related research articles and mass media resources. For example, newspaper and journal articles. This method identifies various major reasons of non-compliance with planning conditions.

Furthermore, the problems identified were verified by an interview with expert of planning application and condition, who had done a related research before. The expert’s opinion provides an insight and guide in the recommendation section.

2.2 Case studies

The chosen cases include that in Times Square in Hong Kong and Kwun Tong MTR station. The studies are focusing on data, restriction and constraints of the open space area. Our team carried out the cases studies with site visits on 14th of April, 2017.

2.3 Paper and mass media research

Researches of scholars concerning the issue of planning conditions in Hong Kong are referred to. Also, related news reports are taken into account so as to obtain a comprehensive and in-depth picture of the issue. The paper and mass media research was done from the mid to late March of 2017.

2.4 Interview

Our team carried out an Interview with Prof. Lawrence Lai, an expert of planning and development of Hong Kong real estate market, in order to attain professional view regarding the topic issue. The interview date is 21st of March, 2017, in Knowles Building of the University of Hong Kong. It was a 30 minutes open-ended interview. The interviewee refused to take photos and record the interview due to privacy issue.

Due to time limitation, the interview could not cover every details of our topic. Moreover, part of the interviewee’s opinions are subject that this report does not only consider the interview’s opinions when finding out the reasons of an issue.

3. Findings

3.1 Introduction

This section gives the findings of this report and provides elaboration and explanation correspondingly.

3.2 Case studies

As shown in figure 1, the grey area is said space in Times Square for the public for pedestrian passage and passive recreation uses governed by the deed (Buildings Department, 2016), while figure 2, 3, 4 and 5 showed the area of the said open space in Times Square and Kwun Tong. Despite the aforementioned fact, Times Square claimed that the colored area attribute to their property, implying that they have the right to stop pedestrians from entering. Our team observed that staffs were trying to drive buskers away. The same situation could be observed in the footbridge in the MTR exit to APM mall in Kwun Tong.

For the case in Times Square, the government have replied that although they took civil action against the proprietor of Times Square, no further actions has been made. On the other hand, the government shifted the blame to the owner, claiming that the owner has the responsibility to manage it. Meanwhile, the government have took some measurements to boost the transparency of public facilities, such

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