HDB: Woodlands will be the star of the north

Woodlands is set to undergo a massive transformation over the next five to 10 years under the Housing Board's Remaking Our Heartland (ROH) programme.

Other than almost 10,000 new dwelling units to be built at Woodlands Central and Woodlands North Coast, the 1,198 ha estate will have new amenities such as a regional business centre, more cycling and pedestrian pathways as well as a healthcare complex, among others.

This will turn Woodlands into a more popular neighbourhood in the future, property experts and residents told The New Paper.

The redevelopment plans were announced by Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong at the launch of the ROH exhibition for Woodlands yesterday. A budget has yet to be finalised.

Toa Payoh and Pasir Ris will also undergo changes - although Woodlands will get the most comprehensive makeover - as part of the third batch of the ROH programme, which was first announced in 2007.

The new Woodlands Central homes will be located near Woodlands MRT station and there will be commercial facilities as well.

The authorities have yet to decide if these will be public or private units.

Meanwhile, the Woodlands North Coast public housing development will provide a "housing-in-the-woods" experience by leveraging on the area's natural hilly terrain.

Residents can enjoy good views of Admiralty Park and the Straits of Johor.

HDB said Woodlands will be transformed into the "Star Destination of the North" and listed six key features, namely:

A Woodlands Regional Centre hub for businesses;

  • A new 1.9km community link, which will have dedicated cycling and pedestrian paths connecting Woodlands Central to the waterfront;
  • Upgrading of the existing Woodlands Town Garden with a new boardwalk, children's play area and heritage corner;
  • An integrated healthcare complex, which includes a new acute care hospital, community hospital and nursing home - all set to be opened in phases from 2022;
  • A new community hub next to Admiralty MRT station. It will house facilities such as a medical centre, eldercare and childcare centres, a hawker centre, dining and retail outlets, and housing for the elderly;
  • Upgrading of an existing 4.2km park connector along the North-South MRT line viaduct with community gardens, pavilions and rest points to be introduced.

Mr Ku Swee Yong, chief executive of International Property Advisor, told TNP that the healthcare amenities are the most important improvements, particularly with the nation's ageing population.

He also said that it would take pressure off Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, the only public hospital in northern Singapore, which he described as "already bursting at its seams".

Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research at SLP International Property Consultants, said the revamp will transform Woodlands from a basic estate to one packed with lifestyle and recreational amenities.

But he did not expect prices of Woodlands flats to rise in the near future.

"These amenities will take time to build. Plus, there's still the distance from Woodlands to the city," he said.

"It also depends on whether the Government is able to change the image of Woodlands - like how they did for Punggol."

Woodlands resident Basith Ali Sulaiman, 47, a freelance bicycle repairman, welcomed the news of the redevelopment plans.

"It's about time for Woodlands, a mature estate, to get new features. I'm very excited to having more recreational features and a more enjoyable estate to live in," he said.

"I've been living in Woodlands since 2010, and I enjoy living here. And now, I won't want to move."

Makeover for Woodlands

Woodlands is set to be transformed into the 'Star Destination of the North', in keeping with its status as the northern regional centre and gateway to Singapore.

It will comprise six main 'Star Attractions' in the form of new recreational and residential developments to revitalise the town.

Photo: The New Paper

This article was first published on April 17, 2017.
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