New Territories business centre on government drawing board

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 December, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 December, 2003, 12:00am

A new business centre is being planned by the government in the Northwestern New Territories as part of Hong Kong's long-term development.

The public favoured dispersing commercial activities rather than concentrating them in Central and neighbouring areas, official sources said.

This would give the city two business centres. Central would act as an international business hub and a new one in Hung Shui Kiu, five minutes from Yuen Long, would serve mainland trade.

With the West Rail project now bringing residents from the Northwestern New Territories to urban areas and the completion of the Western Corridor and Deep Bay Link in December 2005, Hung Shui Kiu would be well served by rail and road and become a gateway between Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

'So far, the views we have collected favour a decentralised pattern. If the majority view still favours a dispersed development at the end of the consultation exercise, it is likely we will adopt a twin-centre approach,' the source said.

The government outlined two pictures of the city's future in the 2030 planning consultation document released last month.

One focused on consolidating the central business area and the other on moving businesses, jobs and homes to other parts of Hong Kong. The consultation exercise will be completed at the end of March. Under the consolidated approach, the entire former Kai Tak airport site would be developed by 2020.

As the conventional central business district would be the focus of development, redevelopment and urban renewal would preclude the development of new towns in the New Territories.

Land for offices and businesses would largely rely on existing supply, redevelopment and conversion of industrial buildings.

But if development spilled from the present centre to other districts, only part of the former Kai Tak site would be developed by 2020.

Urban renewal would mostly focus on renovating old and rundown buildings. Three new towns in the New Territories would be developed - Hung Shui Kiu, Kwu Tung North and Fanling North.

But the source conceded that whether the long-term development plan to create a new business centre in Hung Shui Kiu worked would depend on market forces.

Building a new HK

Scenarios could include:

A second central business district in Hung Shui Kiu, NT

Total or partial redevelopment of the Kai Tak airport site

Building three new towns in the New Territories