A study commissioned by the government has suggested two development plans for New Territories North which could see the the area transformed into homes for 255,000 and 350,000 people respectively.
Both plans could provide 215,000 job opportunities, but may take 22 to 26 years to develop. The costs are uncertain.
It came after a proposal in the 2013 policy address which suggested looking into developing the northern New Territories to establish a new town akin to Fanling or Sheung Shui.
The study was commissioned by the Planning Department and Civil Engineering and Development Department in 2014. The area concerned totals around 5,300 hectares, including land released from a previously closed area, along main cross border roads. The area includes Ping Che and Hung Lung Hang in Ta Kwu Ling, Kong Nga Po and Lung Yeuk Tau, San Tin and Lok Ma Chau.
The study examined three scenarios. The first proposed an area for 255,000 people and 215,000 jobs -meaning 84 per cent of residents will work in the area. The development would take 22 years to complete. A new railway will be needed to connect Heung Yuen Wai – near the Chinese border – to the new towns.
The second scenario proposed further extending rail plans to connect to more new towns, to support a higher population of 350,000 and job opportunities for 215,000. The highest development density in the area may be close to some parts of Kowloon, and will take 26 years to complete.
The government has not planned any further study of a third proposal which suggested homing 397,000 people and providing job opportunities for 165,000 in the area – since the population density will be even higher than the Tseung Kwan O new town and create even more traffic towards the urban area.
The study also reviewed potentially developing Fanling Golf Course, which prompted a heated debate as to whether to transform it into flats.
The study provided two proposals – the same as those proposed by the government’s Task Force on Land Supply. A partial development will provide 4,600 units accommodating a population of about 13,000; A full development will provide 13,200 units accommodating a population of about 37,000.
Lawmaker Edward Lau, also a district councillor for the area, said both plans will cause huge population growth in the area.
He said the District Council would only support large-scale development plan if there will be new roads and rails as the traffic has been saturated.