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
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.