The Government should welcome the judgment against the Town Planning Board last week. The Judge ruled in favour of the environmental activist Chan Ka Lam regarding the Board’s 2014 decision to reserve land for small houses in three country park enclaves: Hoi Ha, Pak Lap and So Lo Pun. (郊野公园「不包括土地」：海下、白腊和锁罗盘)
It will strengthen the Government’s case against the ferocious appetite for more land for small house development——a highly inefficient and destructive form of development, and threat to our remaining natural areas.
The Judge made it clear that when a decision is made to set aside land for village houses the Board(and Government) should consider justified genuine needs of indigenous villagers for development by indigenous villagers. (法官指出城规会(及政府)需要履行职责查证原居民对村屋的真正需要)
It was shown that the Board had relied on information provided by the village representative regarding the potential number of male descendants who might apply for building Small Houses. The Judge decided that this information is not verified or verifiable and can’t be used as proof of genuine needs of indigenous villagers.
This Court Ruling will have wide implications for the Lands and Planning Departments.
It has long been obvious to everyone in Hong Kong that small house development is mostly for sale to the market. The Lands Department condoned this by hiding behind the Small House Policy and guidelines set for them. They kept their eyes, ears and mouth shut to the reality. But no longer. In the future they will need to make serious enquiries and check information provided by the village leaders. (地政总署向来对村屋发展及买卖採取视而不见的态度，今后他们需要认真核实村长提供的资料)
The Government has 4 weeks to appeal. Let’s see whether the Government has the courage to withstand pressure from the Heung Yee Kuk. (政府可于四星期内提出上诉，即管看看他们能否抵挡来自乡议局的压力)
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