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Bringing new life to Woodlands

SINGAPORE — One precinct will be a lush, green waterfront leisure hub, while the other will be a pedestrian-friendly zone of retail shops.

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SINGAPORE — One precinct will be a lush, green waterfront leisure hub, while the other will be a pedestrian-friendly zone of retail shops.

These preliminary plans for Singapore’s third regional centre in Woodlands were unveiled yesterday, as the Government looks to make Woodlands the “key commercial cluster” of the north and decentralise commercial activities to other parts of Singapore.

Speaking at a community event yesterday, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said the developments, along with the new transport infrastructure planned for the area, will improve the quality of life for current and future Woodlands residents.

He also gave the assurance that the developments would not drive housing prices there out of control. “Please don’t worry. As I’ve always maintained — public housing will always be affordable … I am confident because we are the ones who set the price for new HDB flats,” said Mr Khaw. “BTO prices will be linked in relation to the median income of the targeted population, so we can always make sure that new BTO prices will be affordable for new families starting up. That is a promise that we can deliver.”

The Woodlands Regional Centre is another step in the Government’s regionalisation strategy, which saw Tampines and Jurong developed into regional centres in 1992 and 2008 respectively.

Mr Khaw said Woodlands would have unique features, with one of the proposed precincts built around Woodlands Waterfront. Named Woodlands North Coast, this precinct will be a leisure destination covering the area between Republic Polytechnic and the waterfront, with a mix of business, residential and lifestyle developments.

The other precinct, Woodlands Central, will be a pedestrian-friendly retail hub built around Woodlands MRT Station. Current proposals include a pedestrian mall flanked by low-rise commercial buildings, the Urban Redevelopment Authority said.

Transport links will be given a boost with two new stations — Woodlands and Woodlands North — which are part of the coming Thomson Line.

The Woodlands North Station will serve as an interchange to the future rail link to neighbouring Johor. Mr Khaw said there are plans to site an immigration clearance facility there, but said it is unlikely for the high-speed rail system between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to be sited in Woodlands.

In total, Woodlands Regional Centre will take up around 100 ha of land. In comparison, Gardens by the Bay is only about 60 ha, Mr Khaw said.

Details of the developments within the centre, which should take at least a decade to complete, would be released later this year as part of the draft Master Plan. The last Master Plan was released in 2008.

Woodlands residents TODAY spoke to expressed excitement over the plans, but some were concerned over space constraints as more residents are attracted to living there.

“Currently Woodlands only has one mall, cinema and stadium — they will be packed once the estate becomes more developed,” said a resident who gave his name as Mr Neo.

Nearby neighbourhoods like Sembawang and Yishun should be developed in line with Woodlands Regional Centre “to help disperse the residents”, he added.

Another resident, who only wanted to be known as Peter, said the plans should also cater to other demographic needs. “We have an ageing population, so hopefully all age groups will be able to enjoy the developments once they are complete in about 10 years or so,” he said.

Give your feedback on plans for the Woodlands Regional Centre at http://www.ura.gov.sg/woodlands/contribute.htm

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