Farrer Park site to be redeveloped with 1,600 new HDB flats and integrated sports facilities
The Farrer Park Swimming Complex will make way for a new sports centre.
SINGAPORE: A 10ha site in Farrer Park will be redeveloped into a public housing estate with about 1,600 HDB flats, integrated with sports and recreational facilities including a new sports centre at the location of the Farrer Park Swimming Complex.
The flats are slated to be launched for sale in the next three years, said the Housing & Development Board (HDB), Sport Singapore (SportSG) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in a joint press release on Monday (Apr 25).
The site - bounded by Dorset Road, Keng Lee Road, Hampshire Road and Race Course Road - was where Singapore’s first racecourse was established in 1843.
Located near Little India and Farrer Park MRT stations, it has been earmarked for residential use since 1998 under URA's Master Plan.
"The development of the site is in line with the Government’s commitment to redevelop brownfield sites where possible," said the agencies.
"In addition, its proximity to the city centre will provide options for younger families looking for public housing near to their parents for better mutual care and support, with a shorter commute to workplaces in the city."
INTEGRATED SPORTS AND RECREATIONAL FACILITIES
In drawing up the development plans, authorities said they have been engaging various stakeholders since 2018, including the heritage and sports community.
"Many had shared that the sporting heritage and memories of the area make Farrer Park endearing, and hoped that the new housing developments would include the integration of sports facilities," said the agencies.
As such, about 20 per cent of the site will be set aside as open spaces for sports and recreational uses. This will include a 1.2ha central green space comprising a field and a park.
"The upcoming housing projects will be seamlessly integrated with new and redeveloped sports and recreational facilities. This will strengthen the unique identity of Farrer Park as a social and sporting node," said the agencies.
The boxing gym that was the former training ground for the Singapore Amateur Boxing Association and venue for boxing tournaments will be retained.
It will be converted into a multi-purpose community sporting space, and the agencies said they will ensure that works “will capture the architectural character and retain key features of the building”.
This will be integrated within one of the housing projects for residents’ easy access, they added.
NEW SPORTS CENTRE
However, the Farrer Park Swimming Complex, one of Singapore's first public swimming complexes, will not be retained despite earlier proposals to keep the facility.
A new sports centre with swimming pools and other facilities will instead be built at the site.
The agencies said that after further studies, it was assessed that it was not feasible to retain Farrer Park Swimming Complex due to various technical considerations.
“In particular, the existing pool shows signs of listing (indicative of ground settlement issues) and the pool filtration and underground piping system are dated and in need of a complete overhaul to ensure the quality of the pool facilities,” said the agencies.
"Given this, the refurbishment of the swimming complex would not be cost-effective."
Other features of the new housing estate include having sports facilities incorporated within the multi-storey car park, designed so that the ground floor can be set aside for sporting activities.
“This will complement the other facilities around the estate such as three-generation playgrounds and fitness corners, creating a seamless experience for users and encouraging the community to keep fit and stay active,” said the agencies.
A jogging track will also weave through the entire housing estate to connect the various sports and recreational facilities.
Beyond sports facilities, future residents will also have access to a range of amenities within and beyond the site.
These include commercial and social communal facilities in the housing developments, such as shops and a childcare centre.
MEETING NEEDS OF RESIDENTS
The approach of redeveloping brownfield sites where possible will enable Singapore to meet the evolving needs of residents while optimising the limited land and ensuring more sustainable development, said the agencies.
“The rejuvenation of Farrer Park will bring in new residents, and also attract new users to the park and sporting facilities, thus serving the needs of the wider community while retaining the heritage and significance of Farrer Park," they added.
The agencies said they will continue to work with the relevant stakeholders to enhance the character and identity of the estate as they study the detailed design of the future developments.
“These include drawing inspiration from the rich history of Farrer Park in designing the estate, possibly through thematic playgrounds and motifs, and weaving in heritage elements into the upcoming sports facilities,” they added.