SINGAPORE: New mega-housing projects, linkways for pedestrians and cyclists, and a larger recreational area at Marsiling - these are some of the plans residents of Woodlands can look forward to.
As part of the third batch of estates under the Housing and Development Board’s (HDB) Remaking Our Heartlands (ROH) programme, the Woodlands estate will be spruced up over the next five to ten years.
Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong announced the renewal plans at the launch of the ROH exhibition for Woodlands on Sunday (Apr 16).
The renewal plans will focus on strengthening the character, community, and connectivity of each town, said HDB. It added that six “star attractions”, in the form of new recreational and residential developments, will be introduced to revitalise Woodlands.
Six new “star attractions” will be introduced to revitalise Woodlands. (Photo: HDB)
These include turning the Woodlands Regional Centre - which comprises Woodlands Central and Woodlands North Coast - into a “vibrant hub of activity”, with better connectivity and new commercial and residential developments, and building a 1.9km-long community link with dedicated cycling and pedestrian paths, called the WoodsVista Gallery, to connect Woodlands Central to the Woodlands waterfront.
"The Woodlands regional centre will be a new hub for business, especially those with Malaysian and ASEAN linkages. And I think this will create many more opportunities and jobs for Singaporeans. It will make Woodlands an attractive place to live, work, and play," said Mr Wong.
At the edge of Woodlands Central, a landmark housing development is set to be developed.
Another residential development called “Housing-in-the-Woods” will be constructed in Woodlands North Coast, where Republic Polytechnic and the upcoming 70-hectare business hub are located.
HDB said that the project will “leverage on the hilly terrain” so that homeowners will have views of the park, and the Straits of Johor.
It will also be next to Admiralty Park, where redevelopment works will be completed in the second half of 2017, according to the National Parks Board (NParks) group director of parks Mr Chuah Hock Seong.
There is no confirmation yet whether these two housing projects will be earmarked for public or private developments.
According to HDB, the Woodlands Town Garden located at Marsiling will also be upgraded and expanded into a new “Discovery Playground” and a new integrated healthcare complex will be developed next to the upcoming Woodlands South MRT station on the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL).
At the Discovery Playground, residents will be able to enjoy the Woodlands Town Garden and learn about the history of the town. (Photo: HDB)
The fifth attraction, called the Community Nexus, is a one-stop hub of facilities for all ages. It will be located right next to the Admiralty MRT station, said HDB. Meanwhile, the existing park connector that runs from the east to the west of Woodlands will be transformed into a ‘Social Corridor’, with lush greenery, community gardens and 3-Generation facilities along the park connector and MRT viaduct.
The Community Nexus will serve as a one-stop hub of facilities for all ages. (Photo: HDB)
HDB also said greenery along key roads throughout the town will also be enhanced, with the introduction of an extensive ecological network of green corridors to connect green nodes within Woodlands.
To provide residents with a more pleasant walking and cycling experience, the cycling network will be enhanced progressively with new cycling paths that connect to the MRT stations. Ramps and lifts will also be implemented over time to improve barrier-free accessibility.
The ROH programme was first announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2007. Since then, six towns and estates - Punggol, Dawson, Yishun, East Coast, Hougang and Jurong Lake - have been rejuvenated.
In drawing up the rejuvenation plans, HDB said it had actively engaged residents and stakeholders to seek their views and suggestions on the plans. Residents from the three selected towns were, for the first time, invited in the early stages of the planning to participate in Focus Group Discussions.
A total of 11 discussion sessions were conducted, involving about 400 residents and community stakeholders from the three towns, it added.
Residents are invited to visit the Woodlands ROH exhibition and give their feedback on the plans. The exhibition will be held at Woodlands Central on Apr 16 from 10am to 9pm, and from Apr 17 to 30 (9am to 9pm). Residents may also view the exhibition on the HDB InfoWEB and share their feedback online.
*Additional reporting by Channel NewsAsia's Rachel Phua.