URA unveils plans for 19,000 homes in 3 residential precincts

OCT 17, 2017


THE Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Monday unveiled its proposed plans for some 19,000 units in three upcoming neighbourhoods: Kampong Bugis, Holland Plain and Bayshore.

In line with its car-lite vision, it plans to develop seamless and comprehensive networks of walkways and cycling paths so that planners can set aside less space for roads and carparks.

Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said this at the URA Centre Atrium on Monday at the launch of an exhibition showcasing these preliminary ideas that members of the public can also give their feedback on.

Mr Wong said: "This is not just a theoretical point. Looking at Bayshore, for example, the planners think that the road carriages can be reduced from three lanes to two lanes if there is this move to a car-lite society.

"This means we will free up space at the ground level, where residents can enjoy wider pedestrian walkways and even dedicated cycling paths. Also, it will mean more greenery and community spaces within the residential precincts."

He added that to improve connectivity, the government is "investing significantly" in the public transport system, expanding it and planning for the vast majority of homes in Singapore to be within a 10-minute walk from an MRT station.

For these three precincts, the last-mile connection from home to MRT station will be enhanced by infrastructure such as underpasses, footbridges, sheltered walkways and pedestrian walkways.

Property consultants flag that this car-lite vision will lead developers to adjust their apartment types and target buyer profiles in private residential developments, if indeed there is a cap on the number of parking lots allowed.

ZACD Group executive director Nicholas Mak foresees that home buyers with young children and elderly family members may not be too receptive to the idea of not having a parking lot, as car ownership is deemed a convenience, if not a necessity for them.

"In addition, the new car-lite property developments in the three precincts would face competition from existing and future private housing supply in other precincts which are able to provide more parking space in both the public and private housing properties ... This could adversely affect the demand for new projects in these three precincts."

Christine Li, head of research at Cushman & Wakefield Singapore, added that developers may reduce the number of bigger-sized, family-friendly units and perhaps build more one- and two-bedders targeted at young couples, singles and expatriates.

But she added that this parking-lot limitation is not a big determinant of buyer demand, as there have been condominiums which do not offer one parking lot for every unit, yet have still sold well.

Of the three districts, Bayshore is the largest at 60 hectares. Located next to East Coast Park, it has the potential to yield 12,500 new homes, with a mix of public and private housing.

Kampong Bugis, a precinct of around 17 hectares located around Kallang Road, is planned for private residential use and can yield around 4,000 new homes.

Holland Plain, a private residential precinct along Old Holland Road just behind the current Methodist Girls' School, is a 34-hectare site which can yield up to 2,500 new homes.

Mr Wong also spoke about integrating residential spaces with greenery and nature. In Bayshore, URA's proposals include building a new linear park along the old coastline which was present before reclamation took place in the 1960s. That coastline lies beside the existing row of low-rise residential developments along Upper East Coast Road.

URA also suggests transforming the existing Kallang Riverside Park south of the Kampong Bugis precinct into a waterfront park.

It is further considering building community green and wetland parks in Holland Plain; the area currently has a natural sloping terrain and is close to the Bukit Timah First Diversion Canal.

URA is also looking at installing well-designed public spaces and facilities that will nurture a stronger sense of community, such as courtyard spaces in residential blocks in Bayshore which can offer social amenities including childcare and eldercare facilities.

As for the timing, the Kampong Bugis site will be launched over the next one to two years. A master developer will be appointed via a concept-price tender, and will have some flexibility to optimise the design of the entire precinct.

This will be followed by Holland Plain around 2021 and Bayshore after 2024.