Bukit Timah Saddle Club plans revamp after lease extended

SINGAPORE - The Bukit Timah Saddle Club will get a facelift, with improved facilities and new horses coming in.

Plans for the revamp come after the club won the bid to renew its lease to stay on its premises off Eng Neo Avenue in February.

The club was awarded the 10ha piece of land - an area covering about 20 football fields - at 51 Fairways Drive. The new lease will be for an initial three years, and renewable until December 2018.

It is now paying a rent of $68,850 a month - $50,000 more than the rent it paid previously. Part of the reason for the higher amount is that the land awarded is double the size of the 5ha it had previously occupied.

Bukit Timah Saddle Club general manager Anthony Lowry said: "For many years, it was difficult for the management to justify investment in the facilities as the club was always on a short-term lease.

"Now that we have secured the site... for potentially up to six more years, we are planning to invest in some much-needed upgrades and facility improvements."

Works will be carried out at some of the older stable blocks and one of the sand arenas - which is used for the horses' training and exercise as well as for riding lessons.

The club will also be buying new machines to help maintain the sand arenas and the property. Since the lease was extended, the club said it intends to buy new horses.

The club hopes to increase the number of ponies and horses from about 73 now to 100 by the end of this year. It will also be hiring new riding instructors.

Mr Lowry declined to comment on the budget for the renovation works, which are expected to be completed by the end of this year.

To cope with the higher rent, the club said it is looking at ways to cut its cost base and maximise revenue streams.

"Our sub-tenants will face higher rents and we will aim to expand our membership base significantly," said Mr Lowry, who declined to elaborate.

Mrs Alison David, who keeps her two horses at the club, said that her family is looking forward to the upgraded facilities.

Mrs David, a retired design consultant whose family have been members at the club for the last five years, said: "We already have a beautiful setting and a great amount of space. It's a new lease of life for the club with the upgrading."

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