Dairy Farm International is to build a residential joint venture in Sha Tin with Kowloon-Canton Railway Corp (KCRC). Dairy Farm, the retail arm of the Jardine group, has won approval for the venture, its first housing development for some time. The company is believed to hold a 40 per cent interest in the 2.2 million square foot residential project, based on the amount of land it owns in the 4.97 hectare site at Fo Tan station. The Town Planning Board yesterday approved the plan to build eight 39-storey residential towers above a five-level retail podium. The site covers a two-hectare Wellcome Godown owned by Dairy Farm, a 38,312 sq ft bus station lot next to Fo Tan station and railway tracks. The two companies plan to build 2,768 residential flats with a 188,000 sq ft shopping mall and 554 car parking spaces. The project is due for completion by 2006. Dairy Farm and KCRC may start construction within one to two years. They are required to build a platform covering the existing rail tracks and build one primary school and one secondary school on it. Analysts said it was unclear whether the firms would have to pay to build the schools, estimated to cost more than HK$200 million, as the Government was still considering a possible policy change relating to cost burdens. The companies managed to secure approval from the Town Planning Board mainly because inherent traffic problems around the site were removed recently. A new road linking Tai Po Road and Lok King Street was approved by the Executive Council recently, making a denser development in Fo Tan possible. The project would also keep pace with a sewage treatment plant to be completed in 2006, to cope with population pressures.