New Horizons Building (NHB) Complex
Ngau Tau Kok, Kowloon
Section 12A Planning Application and Representation to Draft Ngau Tau Kwok and Kowloon Bay OZP
The New Horizons Building (NHB) Complex
The NHB Site is located between Kwun Tong Road and Wang Chui Road in Kowloon Bay. It has a rich history related to the Former Royal Air Force and Vietnamese people.
NHB as The Former Royal Air Force Headquarters
The area around the NHB Site was a headquarters of the former Royal Air Force. Opened in 1973, the NHB was called Gray Block after Flight Lt Hector Bertam Gary was captured at the fall of Hong Kong in 1941. Flight Lt Gary refused to divulge the names of fellow prisoners to the Japanese, despite torture, and was executed in December 1943 and was buried in the military cemetery in Stanley. In April 1946, he was posthumously awarded the George Cross.
NHB as a temporary settlement for Vietnamese People
NHB Site had been used as Kai Tak Camp and a Departure Centre for Vietnamese Refugees / Boat People for about 20 years. Christian Action (CA) had provided services to these people for about 16 years, from 1982 to 1998, including operating the New Horizons School at the NHB premises. It is possibly the only preserved structure retained from the history of Vietnamese Refugees / Boat People in Hong Kong, acting as a pilgrimage for this community to retain a part of their history.
Christian Action (CA)
CA has been the occupier of the NHB site for over 30 years. It is a Hong Kong registered charitable organisation with more than 500 employees. It provides a wide range of social support services both in Hong Kong and Mainland China. The NHB and other associated structures on the NHB Site are currently used as CA’s headquarters, main community service centre, Employment Retraining Board (ERB) employment retraining, community sales outlet and its warehouse to recycle second-hand items.
Section 12A Planning Application
The NHB Site was zoned Open Space (“O”) on Ngau Tau Kok & Kowloon Bay OZP No. S/K13/28. Masterplan assisted CA to prepare a S 12A application. The request for rezoning the Site from “O” to Government, Institution or Community (G/IC) use was to retain the Site for G/IC uses so that the substantial and practical NHB building on the Site can continue to be used to serve the community. If approved, it would possibly provide a higher level of certainty to CA so that long term development plan of the services can be formulated and implemented.
A G/IC zoning will reflect the long established use of the Site; and the sub-zone of G/IC(2) has a clause in the statutory Notes will provide additional planning control and help protect the historical NHB premises.
The re-training programmes partnered with ERB have helped numerous unemployed people affected by the changing economies to re-enter the workforce. As such, the existing use of the Site helps implement government policy.
However, before the TPB considered the application, it had been make known that the “O” site where the NHB is situated would be used for public housing development.
TPB Decision on the S12A Application
CA had presented at the TPB hearing that NHB and housing provision can co-exist. However, the S.12A application was not approved.