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Small house policy must comply with “Enclave Policy”

Stop the destruction of To Kwa Peng

To Kwa Peng is recognized for its landscape and ecological value, including the mangroves.

Click here (DEADLINE MAY 20) to submit your objection to small house construction in To Kwa Peng, and to urge the Government to halt processing land grant and planning applications for small house construction in Country Park Enclaves until an outline zoning plan has been prepared for the enclave concerned, or the enclave has been included in a country park.

Layout plans for small house settlements disregard ecology and landscape
To Kwa Peng is one of the 77 Country Park Enclaves the Government decided to protect after the Tai Long Sai Wan incident. To Kwa Peng is a small uninhabited village with a few ruins and seven dilapidated village houses covering 9.77ha at the northern coast of Sai Kung peninsula overlooking the waters of Ko Tong Hau. It is only accessible by a walking trail off Pak Tam Road and by a small pier. The natural mudflat on the coast is rich with species and uncommon mangroves and sea grass are found here. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department promotes mangrove tours to the area.


The three planning applications to the Town Planning Board (Deadline for comments is 20 May 2011) confirm that the Lands Department is processing and approving the construction of 37 houses in To Kwa Peng, adjacent to the mangroves of Ko Tong Hau and the Sai Kung Country Park. To Kwa Peng is an uninhabited area of high ecological and landscape value without road access or sewerage. For more information click here: A/DPA/NE-TKP/3, A/DPA/NE-TKP/4, A/DPA/NE-TKP/5.

The plans fail to meet the standards set in the “Enclave Policy”.
The Lands Department has approved the establishment of a new human settlement in To Kwa Peng with a haphazard layout of small houses in close proximity to mangroves and the country park. The plans do not indicate how emergency vehicle access and parking will be dealt with, resulting in future illegal parking and road building.

The plans show that there is no sewerage and that the houses will depend on septic tanks and soak away pits, resulting in seepage of sewage into the underground and nearby waters.

There appears to be no impact assessment of the construction and the land use on this sensitive environment, nor has there been any assessment under the Sustainability Assessment process or the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance.


This is a typical small house layout plan approved by the Lands Department: No sewerage but a soakaway pit, no roads despite a high car ownership among residents of remote villages, the location of the house is based on the layout of paddy fields rather than a well considered sustainable plan for the area. Approvals under the Small House Policy are in direct conflict with the Enclave Policy.

Blatant disregard of new "Enclave Policy"
The Lands Department is continuing to process and approve land grant applications for small houses in the Country Park Enclaves under its New Territories Small House Policy. This despite the announcement in July 2010 that 54 Country Park Enclaves which lack planning controls would either be included into country parks, or their proper uses would be determined through statutory planning taking into account accessibility, location, development threats, conservation value and landscape value (“Enclave Policy”). To Kwa Peng is one of the 54 enclaves.


Overview of the 77 Country Park Enclaves recognized in July 2010. 54 are without proper planning controls. The Interim Development Permission Area Plans prepared for 7 enclaves so far do little to stop the blight of new small house land grants. The protection with Outline Zoning Plans (OZPs) is expected to take at least another three years. Only OZPs will provide the necessary protection of the landscape and ecological value of the country park enclaves.

Slow progress abused by the Heung Yee Kuk
In his 2010-11 Policy Address in October 2010 the Chief Executive reconfirmed the “Enclave Policy” and the need to take prompt action to regulate land use in the vicinity of country parks to forestall human damage. However, due to 'a lack of resources' the Planning Department has so far prepared interim Development Permission Area plans for only 7 out of the 54 enclaves, and full Outline Zoning Plans will take at least three more years.

In the meantime we receive ongoing reports of land grant applications being processed by the Lands Department for small houses in the Country Park Enclaves including upto 80 houses in To Kwa Peng alone. The disregard of the "Enclave Policy" by the Lands Department (under pressure from the Heung Yee Kuk and no doubt their great leader, Excutive Councillor, Legislative Councillor and District Councillor, “Uncle Fat”) has become evident in the applications to the Town Planning Board for houses in To Kwa Peng, adjacent to country park and the mangroves along the waters of Ko Tong Hau in Sai Kung.


The Lands Department is 'secretly' processing land grant applications for small houses in Country Park Enclaves pre-empting the Enclave Policy. Public notices are limited to two weeks via the village notice board and restricted to local objections only. This paper notice for 2 new houses was spotted in Ko Tong late April. Ko Tong is one of the enclaves which have yet to be protected with planning controls due to a 'lack of resources'.

The application for houses in To Kwa Peng should also fail the wobbly standards of the Small House Policy
To Kwa Peng has been subjected to illegal development. On 28 July 2010, the South China Morning Post reported that a contractor brought in an excavator and a driller by sea and drove them to a work site via an illegally-formed access road on government land. The Lands Department inspected and erected bollards and a chain link fence to block the illegal access road. Any approval of houses here rewards a 'destroy first, develop later' attitude.

The same SCMP article reported that the owners of the paddy fields in To Kwa Peng included a private company - Billion Cheer Investment controlled by Lau King-for, a Sai Kung district councilor. It reports that the company spent HK$800,000 in 2008 buying stakes in more than 40 plots from villagers. Hikers spotted notices in December 2009 showing applications by Tap Mun villagers for houses in To Kwa Peng. The lands registry shows that some plots were transferred in February 2010. The small houses here may not be for indigenous villagers themselves or within their own village as intended under the 1972 New Territories Small House Policy (SHP).

Object to the destruction of Country Park Enclaves by the Lands Department
Click here (DEADLINE MAY 20) to submit your objection to small house construction in To Kwa Peng, and to urge the Government to halt processing land grant and planning applications for small house construction in Country Park Enclaves until an outline zoning plan has been prepared for the enclave concerned, or the enclave has been included in a country park.
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