Hong Kong 2003
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Review of the Town Planning Ordinance

The existing Town Planning Ordinance was first enacted in 1939. There is a need to revise the legislation from time to time to meet the requirements of the changing social and economic environment in Hong Kong.

The Town Planning Bill proposing an overhaul of the statutory planning system was introduced into the Legislative Council in February 2000. Owing to the complexity of the issues involved, the council's Bills Committee was not able to complete consideration of the bill within the 1998-2000 term, and it was dissolved after nine meetings. Since then, the Administration has taken the opportunity to review the bill's proposals in the light of the comments received and the changing socio-economic conditions.

While there is a general consensus on the need to streamline the planning procedures and to promote public participation, views on certain complex policy issues are diverse. These issues need to be resolved after further consultation with the stakeholders. Since there is a strong demand in the community to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the present planning system, the Administration has decided to propose amendments to the Town Planning Ordinance in stages, giving priority to those amendments which have general consensus and would produce more immediate benefits to the community.

The first-stage amendments have been included in the Town Planning (Amendment) Bill 2003 which was introduced into the council in May. The main objectives of the amendment bill are to streamline the plan-making process and planning approval procedures, enhance the openness and user friendliness of the planning system and strengthen planning enforcement control in the rural New Territories.

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