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3 new estates, 40,000 homes

SINGAPORE — Community gardens, huge parks of up to 10 hectares, walkways lined with greenery and landscaped decks integrated with housing blocks. Amenities like these will feature prominently in the three new housing estates of Bidadari, Tampines North and Punggol Matilda, the plans for which were unveiled yesterday at an exhibition at Toa Payoh HDB Hub. Together, these estates will yield 40,000 new public housing units.

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SINGAPORE — Community gardens, huge parks of up to 10 hectares, walkways lined with greenery and landscaped decks integrated with housing blocks. Amenities like these will feature prominently in the three new housing estates of Bidadari, Tampines North and Punggol Matilda, the plans for which were unveiled yesterday at an exhibition at Toa Payoh HDB Hub. Together, these estates will yield 40,000 new public housing units.

Speaking at the exhibition, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said that promoting “pervasive greenery and community gardens” will be one of five characteristics of every new town, or what he described as the “next generation of housing”. The others are encouraging interaction and healthy living among residents, as well as energy efficiency, recycling and higher productivity be it in refuse collection or the construction of the flats.

“As we rapidly expand our building programme to create new precincts in new towns, my instruction to HDB is to seize the opportunity to build on our strong foundation and to advance our social mission. Every new town must be better than the previous one,” Mr Khaw said.

He added: “These fresh planning and design ideas will characterise our next generation of public housing.”

On the three new upcoming towns - which are slated for completion over the next 10 to 15 years - Mr Khaw pointed out that the development plans will “capitalise on their distinctive character to bring about a unique identity and living experience”. “The planners have carefully built on each estate’s history, distinctive local flavour and features,” he said.

For example, Bidadari Park will feature heritage trees, Tampines North will boast a 10 ha Quarry Park - in a nod to Tampines’ past as a sand quarry site - and Punggol Matilda will have verandahs and colonnaded walkways inspired by a conserved property in the vicinity, the Matilda House,

Applications will open for a Build-to-Order project in Punggol Matilda in the BTO exercise next month. Buyers can expect units in Tampines North and Bidadari to come on stream in the second half of next year and 2015, respectively.

HDB said the pricing of projects in these estates will depend on the location, design and the different attributes of the flats such as floor area, design features and orientation, as well as the resale prices of nearby HDB units.

Most analysts whom TODAY spoke to expect the projects in Bidadari to be the most popular among the three new estates, due to its centralised location and links to transportation nodes. PropNex CEO Mohamed Ismail, however, felt that Punggol Matilda could potentially be most attractive. “Punggol is attracting a lot of attention, mainly because of lifestyle amenities and facilities,“ he said.

All three new estates will have extensive cycling and pedestrian networks. In terms of public transport, Bidadari will be served by the North-East Line (NEL) and Circle Line (CCL), while Punggol Matilda will be near the Punggol LRT line. New bus interchanges will also be built in Bidadari and Tampines North. Chris International Director Chris Koh noted that currently, Tampines North is the least accessible by public transport as there are no MRT or LRT stations in the vicinity. Analysts also wondered whether Tampines North would be classified as a mature estate given that it is part of the larger Tampines town, leading to its flats being priced higher.

ERA Key Executive Officer Eugene Lim said: “Tampines North could possibly be considered as part of the mature town of Tampines... residents there will be able to access the regional centre without being directly affected by the hustle and bustle.”

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