Friday, February 1, 2013

Three new towns to offer about 90,000 homes


Bidadari, Tampines North, Tengah to provide both public, private housing

The Straits Times
February 1, 2013

HREE new towns will provide some 90,000 homes in the next few years while other sites such as Keppel and Bukit Brown could also be developed in future.

The new estates - Bidadari, Tampines North and Tengah - will offer both private and public housing, according to the Ministry of National Development's Land Use Plan, which was unveiled yesterday.

The Government has committed to a supply of 700,000 new homes by 2030 to house a bigger population.

Bidadari, a former cemetery whose graves were exhumed in 2001, will offer 11,000 units over the next three years.

Concurrently, Tampines North, which now has many open spaces, will also be further developed to yield 21,000 homes.

Tengah, in the west, is now being used as a training ground by the military but some parts will make way for 55,000 homes in about three to five years' time.

Houses could also be built in areas such as the former Bukit Turf Club, Kallang Riverside, Keppel and Bukit Brown to allow more people to live closer to their workplace. This would reduce commuting time and traffic jams, said a ministry spokesman.

She added that these areas could be developed by 2030 but this will depend on demand.

According to the plan, more homes will also be built on vacant land in existing estates.

Eco-town Punggol will become one of the largest HDB towns with 96,000 homes.

In an interview at the HDB Hub yesterday, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said much planning has gone into ensuring that the amenities and design features in the new sites are attractive to home buyers.

For instance, parts of Bidadari's undulating terrain and existing greenery will be retained while Tengah, with its largely un- changed landscape, could be a test bed for new designs.

Of the new towns, property analysts expect high demand for homes in Tampines North and Bidadari.

Tampines North is part of Tampines, which is already well-developed, while Bidadari is only a 15-minute drive to the city.

Said ERA Realty spokesman Eugene Lim: "People have seen how a former cemetery like Bishan has been converted into a bustling town. They might expect the same for Bidadari."

Mr Chris Koh, director of property consultancy Chris International, noted that with further development in current estates, "home owners should not be surprised when new houses sprout in their backyard, which may not be a bad thing as it also rejuvenates an area".

As for the new areas, Mr Lim said Keppel and Kallang Riverside would likely have high-rise buildings while Bukit Brown and the former Bukit Turf Club could support a lower-density housing model.

"There will be something to cater to all needs," he added.


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