Development minister Bernadette Linn on Wednesday said the government still plans to build public flats on part of the golf course in Fanling, despite moving to change the zoning of the land from "residential" to "undetermined".
Linn said the temporary change – pending approval from the Town Planning Board – is linked to an environmental report released last month, adding that it is not the first time the authorities have rezoned land during the planning stage of a development.
"It remains our intention to pursue a public housing development there. But we have to respect the statutory processes, in particular I'm talking about the environmental impact assessment process, which just last month gave us a conditional approval," she said.
"The condition is that we have to review the layout and density of the public housing development to minimise the impact on the visual and landscape in that area. So we are doing what we have to do, to respect a statutory system."
Authorities earlier said the review will take around a year and it wouldn't be appropriate to retain the current zoning with high-density development parameters in the draft plan to be submitted to the Executive Council later this year.
Linn said she couldn't give a concrete timetable for the development and added that the original goal of 12,000 homes may not be met.
The minister also said it was too early for the government to take a stance on a proposal by the Heung Yee Kuk for a similar number of flats to be built on abandoned farmland in Sheung Shui.