The government should think ahead on how to relocate villages in the northeastern New Territories it is planning to clear for building new towns in nine years' time, advisers say. This will avoid the bitter resistance being put up by various sectors against the high-speed rail link to Guangzhou, they say. The Planning Department is going to consult rural residents on the blueprints for the three new towns in Kwu Tung, Fanling North and Ta Kwu Ling, and officials say the biggest challenge is how to relocate existing villages - with one, in particular, standing on the future town centre including the underground Kwu Tung Station that will link to the Lok Ma Chau spur line. 'The railway has already been built and the exact location of the station is nearly settled. It will be rather difficult to avoid changing the land use of the village land,' said Raymond Wong Wai-man, assistant director of planning, in an interview last week. The site of Kwu Tung North Village, home to some 3,600 people according to the census records, is zoned for public and private housing blocks not higher than 35 storeys, commerce and research uses. The non-indigenous village is regarded by the government as a squatters' area, and is not on the recognised village list of the Lands Department. This means residents will not get an alternative site but a small allowance as compensation when asked to move in future. Villagers have already put up protest banners with the slogan 'no move, no demolition' - adopting the move taken by Tsoi Yuen Tsuen villagers who have campaigned bitterly against the cross-border express rail link, which will force them out of their homes. Kwu Tung North Village representative Nam Siu-fu said that so far no officials had told them how they would be compensated. District councillor Hau Kam-lam said he was not aware the village was not recognised by the Lands Department, adding that Home Affairs officials had organised village representative elections there. Professor Nelson Chow Wing-sun of the University of Hong Kong, who sits on the expert panel for this planning study, said the government should start planning how to resettle the villagers, although completion of first-phase development was nine years away. 'Otherwise, officials cannot communicate their land-use proposals to villagers if they are unable to explain the compensation policy, and that was what happened at the consultation sessions,' Chow said. Tony Chan Tung-ngok, a surveyor with the Heung Yee Kuk - the official rural consultation body - and another expert panel member, said he remained unconvinced by official explanations on why they wanted to redevelop existing villages and not use less-populated areas instead. A 2,400-hectare closed border area, which is near the three crossing points, would largely be kept as a green buffer between Hong Kong and Shenzhen, Wong said. According to the plan, the three new towns will accommodate 130,000 people along with industrial and commercial areas.