4,000 public flats to go up at Diamond Hill site formerly home to historic village

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 May, 2015, 3:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 May, 2015, 3:00am

The site of a former historic village and moviemaking hub in Diamond Hill will be home to 4,000 public flats housing 12,000 residents, after town planning advisers approved the government's redevelopment proposal.

Housing blocks will occupy 2.83 hectares of the 7.18-hectare site of the former Tai Hom village, built in 1800, and the adjacent Ha Yuen Leng.

The villages have been pulled down save for a stone house that was once the home of late movie star Roy Chiao.

Two other structures, a pillbox and a former Royal Air Force hangar - both listed as grade two historic buildings - have been removed and will be relocated along with the stone house to a new 1.64-hectare park to make way for the MTR's Sha Tin-Central link project, under the final plan endorsed by the Town Planning Board yesterday.

Some board members suggested accommodating more homes to maximise land use.

"Is it necessary to have so much open space?" Dr Wilton Fok Wai-tung asked. "Now the demand for housing is so big and we have been fighting for every small site even to build pencil towers … Shouldn't such a big piece of land be better utilised?"

His colleague Clarence Leung Wang-ching shared the view. "Is it possible to review whether the floor area can be maximised?"

Tom Yip Chi-kwai, Kowloon district planning officer at the Planning Department, said building more flats would increase traffic in the neighbourhood. That would require undertaking traffic improvement works, including widening Choi Hung Road, he said.

Tai Hom was built by a quarrying and construction businessman.

It became a squatter area in the post-war period and was well known as a cradle of local movies, hosting many film studios.

The villages were demolished in 2001. Since then, the use of the land has been the subject of years of debate and several amendments to the original proposal.