Shared spaces for small places of worship?

Shared spaces for small places of worship?

SINGAPORE - Small temples or churches could soon have the option of being housed under the same roof, in multi-storey buildings containing several places of worship for the same religion.

That possibility is now being explored by the Ministry of National Development (MND), which is making a Request for Information to invite views and suggestions from churches and Chinese temples.

Amid rising demand for worship spaces, sites have been released under the Government Land Sales programme. But there are many small temples and churches which find such sites too large for their needs, and hence, unaffordable, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan noted in a blog post yesterday morning.

"Some of the church and temple leaders have asked us for alternative solutions. Helpfully, they indicated that they were prepared to co-share facilities and to go high-rise," he said.

After a consultation with the religious organisations, MND is exploring the concept of a "multi-user place of worship facility". Such multi-storey developments will have spaces that can be leased or rented by small religious groups - all of the same religion - which will share common facilities such as car parks, prayer halls and classrooms.

MND's Request for Information is open to Chinese temples and churches until Feb 27.

"We look forward to receiving practical proposals from them, so that we can realise this new idea," said Mr Khaw.

According to an MND statement, such facilities are likely to be located away from housing estates and probably within or at the fringe of industrial areas.

Details of the Request for Information are on the Housing Board's website, and interested groups are encouraged to register by Dec 31 for a briefing on the exercise.

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