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Developers oppose city plan

Bangkok has a new city plan designed to make the capital more liveable with a smoother traffic flow and faster fire response.

However, developers are uneasy with some of the changes, which they complain will force low- and middle-income earners to live outside the city.

The main disagreement voiced by some members of the Housing Business Association and the Thai Condominium Association (TCA) is with the new roadwidth requirements.

The plan calls for wider front roads for building construction in many zones,resulting in new housing developments situated only on main thoroughfares.

Developers would be unable to build on many minor roads such as sois, which are generally very narrow.

For example, new residential developments with area of less than 2,000 square metres would require a front road that is at least 16 metres wide in some residential zones, up from only 10 metres required now.

Construction areas of 2,000 to 4,999 sq m would not be allowed on roads narrower than 10 metres in some residential zones, compared with 6-16 metres now.

For large buildings with construction area of 5,000 to 9,999 sq m, the city currently allows the site to be located on a road at least 30 metres in width in some residential zones, but the new plan will reduce the number of zones where this i allowed.

With these limitations and the resultant fewer construction areas available, developers feel prices of new condominiums in some Bangkok zones subject to the new requirement would be much higher, as development costs would be pushed up.

“The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) should revise some of these and set its vision to take into account low- and middle-income earners,” said Atip Bijanonda, a former TCA president and managing director of the listed developer Supalai Plc.

He said Bangkok is the largest source of jobs and the centre of the country.While the BMA wants Bangkok to be a compact city, the new city plan does not support that objective.

As well, the Metropolitan Waterworks Authority lacks funding to extend the pipeline system and increase water pressure, so living inside the city would be better, said Mr Atip.

But the cost of owning a home in the city, particularly a new one, would be higher under the new city plan, he added.

M.R. Premsiri Kasemsant, deputy director-general of the BMA’s City Planning Department, said the new plan takes into consideration the building density in some sois where many highrise or other large-scale buildings are already located.

These locations such as around Sukhumvit Road have limited traffic flow,and sometimes fire trucks are unable to respond to emergencies.

“We want everyone to be concerned about society and how liveable the city is rather than simply the money to be made from project development,” said M.R. Premsiri.

In what is the plan’s third revision,there will be a floor area ratio bonus for any building that provides open public areas, car parks within 500 metres of a mass-transit station, rainwater storage areas, residential units for low-income earners or existing area residents and any green buildings.

The BMA will hold public hearings on the impact of the new Bangkok city plan today where all comments will be heard, said M.R. Premsiri.

The City Plan Act stipulates each Bangkok city plan is effective for five years, and the current one was due to expire this past May.

However, the act allows a one-year extension if adjustments to the new plan are not complete, a delay to May 17 next year.

Source: Bangkok Post

ThaiVest Editorial Team

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