Public housing in Tai Po garners community support and adds energy to district

Hong Kong (HKSAR) - The following is issued on behalf of the Hong Kong Housing Authority:
     The Housing Authority (HA) has been striving to optimise the utilisation of valuable land resources to build homes for Hong Kong people in need. Apart from overcoming various site and development constraints through elaborate planning and design efforts, promoting community engagement and collaboration at the planning stage can also bring about win-win solutions in optimising development potential and meeting district needs. This has been demonstrated well recently in the development of Po Heung Estate in Tai Po.
      The Acting Chief Architect of the Housing Department, Mr Leslie Yuen, said today (February 4), "Through collaboration with the community, the HA could optimise the development potential of the Po Heung Estate site and eventually increase the provision of public rental housing (PRH) flats in the project by nearly 7 per cent.

Po Heung Estate was completed in 2016 as the first new PRH development in Tai Po in the past 20 years and has infused the community with energy."
     The development site of Po Heung Estate had been on the Application List since 2004 but was not triggered for land sale, possibly owing to the traffic or railway noise from the surroundings. In 2009, the HA took over the site and sought ways to mitigate the noise impact and optimise the development potential for PRH development.
     "Through local consultations at the early planning stage, the HA managed to secure support and agreement from the Tai Po Rural Committee to surrender the site of its premises adjacent to the development site to make way for PRH development, and to move back to the completed housing estate upon the project's completion," Mr Yuen said.
     "Its site was then amalgamated into the Po Heung Estate development boundary, which not only allowed more room for overall planning of the PRH project, but also brought about a gain of development intensity for about 30 additional domestic flats, or an increase of about 7 per cent in PRH flats, resulting in a total of 483 domestic flats. This was an important step forward for collaboration between the local community and the public housing development," he added.
     By adopting single aspect design in the two domestic blocks with flats strategically oriented away from the sightline of the railway, together with acoustic fins at strategic locations, the impacts of traffic and railway noise were effectively mitigated.

In addition, the open corridors of the domestic floors greatly enhance the comfort of the tenants in terms of natural lighting and cross ventilation.
     A 24-hour pedestrian passage was provided to connect Po Heung Street and On Fu Road at the two sides of the development to not only serve as convenient access for the residents, but also enhance the connection between Tai Po Market MTR Station and the Fu Shin Street old town centre. Restaurants and retail shops are provided along the pedestrian passage to cater for daily needs of the community.
     Mr Yuen said that the community-public housing development collaboration in this project was reinforced by a community artwork programme. Students of local schools were invited to participate in the creation of public artworks for display along the 24-hour pedestrian passage.

Besides adding beautiful decoration to the neighbourhood, the programme let students show their talent and creativity while also enhancing their sense of belonging to the district.
     As there had not been any new public housing developments in Tai Po for more than 20 years and the population in the district was ageing, the completion and intake of Po Heung Estate in 2016 boosted energy in the district by bringing in new families and younger generations and forming a more rejuvenated and vibrant community, he added.

Published on: 2018-02-04

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