Conservationists fear plans for a ferry pier will lead to development at a scenic spot in Sai Kung East Country Park. Villagers say the pier is essential because settlements close to Tai Long Wan, along the eastern coast, are so remote. Plans for a pier in the early 1990s were dropped after approval was given for one at neighbouring Sai Wan. Last year, the South China Morning Post revealed developers were planning a Club Med-style resort in the area. Applications for more than 100 village houses under the New Territories Small House policy were submitted to the District Lands Office. So far seven have been approved, although about 10 new applications were submitted recently. More than 80 per cent of the Development Permission Area is zoned for conservation. Any development, including a pier, has to be referred to the Town Planning Board. World Wide Fund for Nature Hong Kong conservation officer Alex Yau Shuk-kan said she suspected developers were involved. Genuine needs of villagers should be addressed, but not to serve the interests of developers, Ms Yau said. 'I would just hope that it would prove to be a good thing to help both the local villagers and nature lovers who want to enjoy this beautiful area,' she said. A spokesman for Sai Kung District Office said the pier was in the preliminary discussion stages. 'Villagers of Tai Long and Sai Kung Rural Committee have been requesting government build a pier at Ham Tin,' she said. 'They raised this because the villagers at Tai Long have to walk an hour to get to the other side of the hill and take a boat at Chek Keng.' Admitting the population was small, the spokesman said: 'If you don't have good transport, people move out.' Before the pier was approved, the Country and Marine Parks Board would be consulted, she said.