The latest proposals for the Hung Shui Kiu new town have been announced, with the development area being reduced from 826 to 714 hectares.
This comes as the government minimizes its development plans to the south of Castle Peak Road to preserve villages in that area.
Under the new proposal, only five of the 22 villages in Hung Shui Kiu will be affected: Yick Yuen Tsuen, Tin Sam San Tsuen, San Sang San Tsuen, Sha Chau Lei (II) and Shek Po Road Mei Tsuen.
Villagers will be offered rehousing at a site between San Lee Uk Tsuen and Hung Fuk Estate, or they can opt for a special compensation and rehousing arrangement.
The town with an expected total population of 215,000 will have a total of 60,100 new flats and is expected to offer 150,000 jobs.
The first phase, comprising site formation and engineering infrastructure works, is set to begin in 2020.
It will be ready for initial occupation by 2024, with full development completed by 2037.
Offices and commercial space alone will take up two million square meters, a gross floor area equivalent to that of Central.
There will also be six hotels, including two in Tin Shui Wai, offering 4,400 rooms.
“We don’t know if the residents will actually work in the area but the plan now is to offer as many job opportunities as possible,” a Development Bureau spokeswoman said.
Also proposed is a Hung Shui Kiu MTR station and strategic highways that connect with Tuen Mun and other urban areas.
Asked why the plans called for so few residential units, a spokesman said there are transportation and infrastructural limits, and because people had previously expressed concerns over high-density residential development.
The three-month consultation period for the latest proposal will commence today.
The Legislative Council panel on development is expected to hold its debate on Tuesday.