Bidadari's past will be retained

SINGAPORE - The future Bidadari housing estate will boast not only 11,000 new homes, but will also be the first new estate to retain and showcase the area's heritage in its design and development.

This is thanks to a partnership between the National Heritage Board (NHB) and the Housing Board, to ensure that Bidadari's storied past does not get left behind.

NHB shared with the media yesterday various plans. These include incorporating storyboards of old photographs and information about key heritage landmarks in the estate's proposed 500m-long Heritage Walk.

NHB's group director for policy, Mr Alvin Tan, said: "In the past, we have worked with HDB...but those (projects) were for incorporating heritage elements after the estate had been completed."

Bidadari is well known among Singaporeans as the site of a former cemetery for different racial groups.

Exhumation of the graves was completed in 2004 and 21 selected tombstones of Singapore pioneers, along with the prominent cemetery gate, were moved to the Bidadari Memorial Garden at Mount Vernon.

The tombstones include those of Chinese community leader Lim Boon Keng and former Cabinet minister Ahmad Ibrahim.

These relics will be relocated and integrated into a new 10ha park in the Bidadari housing estate.

NHB said that its inputs will also be considered in the development of a new man-made lake in Bidadari, inspired by the former Alkaff Gardens in the area.

The lake was a popular recreation venue for families in the past and featured a Japanese-style bridge and a boathouse.

Mr Tan hopes that heritage considerations will be factored into the planning of future towns. Doing so, he said, "helps to strengthen the sense of belonging and pride in residents of a particular estate".

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