SINGAPORE: The upcoming Woodlands Regional Centre, which aims to bring jobs closer to homes in the north, will have two distinct precincts.
National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan revealed this as he unveiled preliminary plans for the area on Sunday.
The plans are part of Singapore’s draft masterplan for land use which will be exhibited later this year.
The two precincts will be developed from some 100 hectares of land.
70 percent will be used for the Woodlands North Coast, which will include the area between the Republic Polytechnic and the Woodlands Waterfront.
The Woodlands North Coast is envisioned to be a unique waterfront and leisure destination for Singapore. The intention is to create a mix of business, lifestyle and residential developments, all within the lush greenery and waterfront environment.
Woodlands Central — which is the area around the Woodlands MRT station — will form the other precinct. It will be turned into a pedestrian—friendly regional retail hub.
"There will be more shopping malls, more HDB BTOs, more private condominiums, ECs, and of course, commercial activities and therefore jobs, jobs for the people, so that the people do not have to travel very far to go to their workplaces," said Mr Khaw.
The Woodlands Regional Centre will be served by two new MRT stations (Woodlands and Woodlands North stations) on the Thomson Line which will be completed by 2019.
The Woodlands North station will serve as an interchange to the future rail link to neighbouring Johor.
Mr Khaw said there also plans to site an immigration clearance facility there.
But he said it is unlikely for the high—speed rail system between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to be sited in Woodlands, "because in the North, with our developments, as you can see, would be quite congested".
"And with a rapid transit between JB and Singapore, that is quite good for connectivity. So, for fast—speed train (system), maybe you want it to be elsewhere which means eastern side or the western side," said Mr Khaw.
The minister said it will take about 15 to 20 years to develop the Woodland Regional Centre.
Even with the developments, new housing will always be kept affordable, assured Mr Khaw.
"Yes, all these are beautiful plans, very good and exciting, but can I afford the housing here? Please, don’t worry, don’t worry, as I have always maintained that public housing will always be affordable," he said.
"Why am I so confident? I am so confident because we are the ones who set the price for the new HDB flats. It is not left to the market. I have shown how it can be done during the last one and a half years. I have unpegged the relationship between resale flats. We just stabilise. That is the objective.
"We stabilise the BTO prices and the prices will be linked to the median income of the targeted population. So we can always make sure that the new BTO prices will be affordable for new families starting up, and that is a promise which we can deliver."
Members of the public are invited to give their feedback on the Woodlands Regional Centre, including the names for the two precincts.
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