Government tipped to look favourably on north Lantau plan Swire Properties is prepared to pay a normal land premium for land in Tung Chung that it wants in exchange for transforming a nearby environmentally sensitive site into a giant ecology park. Swire has proposed surrendering 2 million sq ft at Tai Ho in north Lantau in exchange for a private residential site about a fifth of that size in the Tung Chung new town. A government source said the developer was willing to pay a normal land premium in the complex and 'unprecedented' swap that would need high-level approval. The Swire proposal has found favour with the government among a list of 10 plans for developing sensitive sites, released on Tuesday. It also likes a plan for a columbarium and temple complex at Sha Lo Tung, but some of the other schemes face an uphill struggle. The Swire proposal is coupled with a conservation trust of at least $10 million for managing the 225 hectare park that would occupy the whole Tai Ho Valley. The developer would keep only a small proportion of the Tai Ho land which could become a reserve for 150 village houses in an expansion plan, which some villagers have already agreed to support. The source said the premium payment would minimise the government's financial commitment but the final deal would be struck only as part of a package with the conservation proposal. 'It has to be a package deal and nothing is agreed until everything is agreed,' the source said. Proposers of both the Tai Ho and Sha Lo Tung projects had been able to provide a clear conservation plan financed by a well-structured trust, while the willingness to surrender a large part of the site for conservation was a big advantage, the source said. Among other proposals, the source said plans for a village house project at Yung Shue O were likely to be blocked. The proponent, True Profit Company, whose parent is registered in the British Virgin Islands, has submitted only a conceptual plan with no development details or conservation plan. Plans for a spa hotel, herbal garden and Hakka village at Wu Kau Tang faced an uphill battle as the proponent, Greenlife Corporation, had no clear financial commitment on conservation, the source said. A Greenlife spokesman said it would have further talks with the government on its conservation plans. For the Tin Fook Wai private housing and Mui Tsz Lam elderly home projects, the source said the government needed more time to study their proposals to see if the conservation initiatives had overwhelming ecological advantages beyond keeping the status quo. The Tin Fook Wai project, involving the construction of seven residential blocks 10 to 13 storeys high in fish ponds in Yuen Long, is proposed by Yan Hing Mining Company, which is partially owned by Victor Hui Chun-fui, vice-president of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Sun Hung Kai Properties has scrapped its residential development proposal in Sham Chung as green groups were not satisfied that 280 trees had to be felled, according to the source.