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Hong Kong has drawn up the Hong Kong 2030+: Towards a Planning Vision and Strategy Transcending 2030, which proposes a development vision under a framework composed of one metropolitan business core, two strategic growth areas and three development axes, namely, the Northern Economic Belt, the Western Development Corridor and the Eastern Knowledge and Technology Corridor. The Northern Economic Belt abuts Shenzhen and encompasses new towns in Tin Shui Wai, Yuen Long and Fanling/Sheung Shui and their neighbouring rural areas, as well as a number of New Development Areas and Nodes in different planning and development stages.

The government has proceeded to consolidate the Northern Economic Belt into the Northern Metropolis and formulate the Northern Metropolis Development Strategy (the Development Strategy). The Northern Metropolis generally covers two district administration areas including Yuen Long District and North District, with a total land area of about 30,000 hectares.

Key Action Directions and Items

Constructing the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Rail Link (Hung Shui Kiu-Qianhai) and Expanding the Hung Shui Kiu/Ha Tsuen New Development Area
The underground space of the regional open space, which is adjacent to the proposed Hung Shui Kiu Station of the Tuen Ma Line, has already been reserved for accommodating the cross-boundary rail station for the link between Hung Shui Kiu and Qianhai. The government may also examine with Shenzhen the implementation of the rail link with Co-Location Arrangement in Qianhai.

In planning the detailed alignment of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Rail Link, the provision of additional stations along the railway on the Hong Kong side and increase in development intensity around the stations can be considered.

Making of Hong Kong’s Silicon Valley - San Tin Technopole
Land for I&T development in the San Tin/Lok Ma Chau area can be substantially increased by: (1) making an optimal use of the nearly 60 hectares of land proposed for use of enterprise and technology park located at the north of the San Tin/Lok Ma Chau Development Node; (2) using the 20 hectares formed land for I&T development upon relocation of facilities at the Lok Ma Chau Control Point on the Hong Kong side to the new Huanggang border control point on the Shenzhen side; and (3) re-planning about 70 hectares of fish ponds and rural land adjacent to the original Lok Ma Chau Control Point for I&T uses. It is estimated that the land supply increased for I&T use can contribute to as much as about 150 hectares in land area. In terms of GFA that can be accommodated, the development scale will be equivalent to 13.5 Hong Kong Science Park in number. Together with the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park under construction, the total GFA that can be accommodated in the entire San Tin Technopole can be as large as 16.5 Hong Kong Science Park in number.

Exploring Northern Link Eastward Extension and Expanding the Kwu Tung North New Development Area
The Kwu Tung North New Development Area (KTN NDA) is strategically located given its proximity to the San Tin Technopole. The KTN NDA under construction will include the Kwu Tung Station and alignment space has been reserved for the eastward extension of the Northern Link. Consideration should thus be given to constructing a railway extending to the northeast from the Kwu Tung Station to connect with areas in Lo Wu and Man Kam To on the Hong Kong side and various development nodes in the NTN New Town. A station can also be provided at the On Lok Tsuen Industrial Area in Fanling connected to the Fanling Station by seamless pedestrian system. A railway network connecting different strategic development projects and existing communities can then be formed, which can drive land development and unleash the development potential.

The agricultural land and slope areas in Ma Tso Lung to the north of the KTN NDA can be included within the NDA to provide, in estimate, an additional 12,000 to 13,500 residential units.

To increase the supply of residential land in the KTN NDA, the original planning scheme of the NDA should be reviewed by shifting the land use function of some land parcels located in the east and zoned “Other Specified Uses” (“OU”) annotated “Business and Technology Park” to the San Tin Technopole, thus creating greater clustering effect for the I&T industry. As such, rezoning the land parcels for housing development can release about three hectares of land for the construction of over 1,000 residential units.

Developing the Lo Wu/Man Kam To Comprehensive Development Node
Provision of a new railway station (“Lo Wu South Station” named tentatively) for non-boundary crossing service between the existing Lo Wu Station and the Sheung Shui Station will be examined.

The area of the Lo Wu/Man Kam To Comprehensive Development Node should be expanded eastwards from the Lo Wu South Station to the Man Kam To Control Point and further to the area around Lo Shue Ling. In parallel, the land around Sheung Shui Wa Shan can also be rezoned for residential use. With comprehensive commercial/residential development likely driven by the provision of railway service, the area between Man Kam To Road and the Control Point can provide about 39,000 to 44,000 residential units according to our preliminary estimate, while the area around Lo Shue Ling and Wa Shan can provide around 9,500 to 11,000 and 6,000 to 6,500 residential units respectively.

Implementing a Proactive Conservation Policy to Create Environmental Capacity
Three Wetland Conservation Parks adopting systematic and scientific management should be planned for and developed in the Northern Metropolis including Nam Sang Wai Wetland Conservation Park, Sam Po Shue Wetland Conservation Park and Hoo Hok Wai Wetland Conservation Park.

Private wetlands and fish ponds with conservation value in areas around Tsim Bei Tsui, Nam Sang Wai, Fung Lok Wai, Tai Sang Wai, Sam Po Shue, Hoo Hok Wai and Sha Ling/Nam Hang are proposed to be resumed for more effective management and uses. The vast amount of deserted and degraded habitats therein should be restored as well.

Creating Outdoor Eco-recreation/ tourism Space with High Landscape Value
It is proposed to build the New Territories North Urban-Rural Greenway which spans across the Northern Metropolis. The Greenway does not only traverse the countryside and connect mountain ranges, wetlands, fishponds and traditional villages, but also penetrate into urban areas along riverside promenades to link up town parks, distinctive architectures and important historical sites.

On top of the planning and development projects which are underway, the Development Strategy can contribute to further developing about 600 hectares of housing and economic land in the Northern Metropolis. Our preliminary estimate is that there can be an increase in the supply of about 165,000 to 186,000 residential units. The Development Strategy also supports and proposes construction of five railways, provision of more cross-boundary transport infrastructure between Hong Kong and Shenzhen, and development of more land to boost housing and economic development by taking advantage of the railway projects.

The development potential brought about by the action items proposed in the Development Strategy is a preliminary crude estimate. Before proceeding to implementation, the government has to carry out the related work in details, decide on the development priority and conduct detailed planning and engineering studies to confirm whether the action items are technically and financially feasible.

Reference: Northern Metropolis Development Strategy Report by Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government

Complimentary copies available to members of the following associations:

The Hong Kong Construction Association
Macau Coustruction Association
Hong Kong General Building Contractors Association
Hong Kong Institute of Utility Specialists
China Hongkong Society for Trenchless Technology Association
Hong Kong Construction Materials Association Limited
Contractor's Authorised Signatory Association
Hong Kong Construction Machinery Association