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Bidadari works begin by year end
First launch of build-to-order flats at new town may take place by 2015
The Straits Times - May 29, 2012
By: Esther Teo
WORK on the latest new town, Bidadari, will start by the end of the year, paving the way for 12,000 new homes to be built in central Singapore.
The site is slated for both private as well as Housing Board (HDB) homes.
Depending on demand, the first HDB build-to-order launch may take place as early as 2015, a National Development Ministry (MND) spokesman said.
This could mean HDB flats completed by 2018 or so, consultants said.
The move to develop Bidadari is part of a twin-pronged strategy to meet ongoing strong housing demand. The other is to use land in existing estates more intensively, the MND spokesman said yesterday in response to queries.
Bidadari, near Potong Pasir, is a former cemetery whose graves were exhumed in 2001 to make way for housing.
It is currently a park, slightly smaller than Punggol estate.
Consultants say interest in homes at Bidadari is likely to be strong as it is relatively close to the city centre. They say Bidadari could be the next Bishan, also a former cemetery, yet one of the choicest HDB estates now.
Bidadari is served by two MRT stations: Woodleigh on the North-east line and Bartley on the Circle line.
In response to queries, the MND spokesman told The Straits Times that infrastructure work there will start by the year end. Site preparation and earthworks for Bidadari will be followed by the building of major roads, drains and sewers.
Mr Tan Kok Keong, OrangeTee's research and consultancy head, brushed aside worries over superstition, given the site's history. The Government's development plans are typically driven by housing demand alone, he said.
'There is no real stigma for fully exhumed sites anyway... But since Bidadari is quite a large site, it will take some time to be fully built,' he added.
Another new town further along the pipeline is Tengah, near Choa Chu Kang and Bukit Batok, which will yield about 56,000 homes over the next decade or so.
There are more than 900,000 HDB flats in Singapore currently.
'We will build infrastructure ahead of demand and start to prepare for new towns at Bidadari and Tengah,' the MND spokesman said in response to queries.
'How fast they are built up depends on the overall demand for housing in Singapore, but we are planning ahead for flexibility.'
Tengah is a large forested area about the size of Choa Chu Kang. Basic infrastructure and land preparation works will take longer.
Another new town down the track is Simpang, though details are not available yet as it will be developed much later, MND said.
Simpang town will be on the coast, bounded by the Strait of Johor to the north, Sembawang town to the west, Yishun town to the south and the mouth of the former Sungei Seletar to the east.
MND said that it is working out the detailed planning for Tengah and Simpang and will make specific announcements when ready.
The ministry also pointed to the need to use existing land in mature estates more intensively.
'Specifically for residential needs, while we can expect to open up relatively undeveloped areas such as Tengah and Bidadari, we will also need to intensify the use of existing land within more mature housing estates.'