SINGAPORE - Around 1,600 new Housing Board flats will be built on a 10ha site in Farrer Park, along with sports and recreational facilities including a new sports centre.
The Build-To-Order (BTO) projects will be launched for sale within three years, HDB, Sport Singapore and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) announced on Monday (April 25) as the agencies unveiled plans for the site.
The site is bounded by Dorset Road, Keng Lee Road, Hampshire Road and Race Course Road. It is also near Little India and Farrer Park MRT stations, as well as Tekka Market and KK Women's and Children's Hospital.
In a nod to the area's rich sporting heritage, about 20 per cent of the site will be set aside as open spaces for sports and recreational uses, including a 1.2ha central green space comprising a field and park.
The agencies said the former boxing gym building - the former training ground for the Singapore Amateur Boxing Association - will be retained and converted to a multi-purpose community sporting space. It will be integrated within one of the housing developments.
"Agencies will ensure that works to the building will capture the architectural character and retain key features of the building," the statement said.
The estate's multi-storey car park will be designed so that its ground floor can be set aside for sporting facilities.
Other facilities include fitness corners, a jogging track weaving through the estate, and three-generation playgrounds which provides play areas for children and exercise stations for the elderly.
The housing developments will also have new commercial and social communal facilities, such as precinct shops and a childcare centre.
However, the Farrer Park Swimming Complex will not be retained despite earlier plans to keep the facility.
Instead, a new sports centre will be built at the same location, and will have swimming pools and other sporting facilities.
"After further detailed studies, agencies have assessed that it will not be feasible to retain the swimming complex due to various technical considerations," the agencies said.
In particular, the existing pool shows signs of listing, indicative of ground settlement issues, they noted.
The pool filtration and underground piping system are dated and in need of complete overhaul to ensure the quality of the pool facilities, they added.
The agencies had taken suggestions from the Friends of Farrer Park group, members of the heritage community, sports community as well as residents in the area, on retaining the area's sporting identity.
"As agencies study the detailed design of the future developments, we will continue to work with the relevant stakeholders to enhance the character and identity of the estate," the statement said.
More details will be announced when ready, they added.
Farrer Park was where footballers, as well as athletes from other sports like track and field, tennis, rugby, hockey, squash and tennis, would gather. Many athletes were saddened about Farrer Park's transformation and had called for the area's sporting heritage to be retained.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.