Aug 30, 2013

    Bidadari to become an urban oasis

    ONCE the site of a cemetery for different racial groups, Bidadari estate is slated to be transformed into an urban oasis with 11,000 homes.

    With its rolling and undulating topography, Bidadari will have a 10ha green lung in the heart of its 93ha estate, offering residents ample space for recreation.

    A man-made lake, inspired by the one found previously in the former Alkaff Lake Gardens there, will also be created in this new park.

    The master plan for Bidadari, together with those for two other estates - Tampines North and Punggol Matilda - were unveiled yesterday by National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

    The plans will be showcased to the public until Sept 15 at the Future Homes, Better Lives exhibition held at the HDB Hub Atrium. Members of the public are invited to give their feedback.

    Mr Khaw, who launched the exhibition, said in a speech that the Housing Board is guided by a social mission, and noted that every new town "must be better than the previous one".

    He suggested a list of criteria, such as promoting interaction through more public spaces, promoting healthy living through pedestrian and cycling networks, and setting aside green spaces.

    He said the new estates will "capitalise on their individual distinctive character, so that they can all achieve a unique identity and provide a unique living experience".

    The three estates will progressively yield some 40,000 new homes, mostly public housing, over the next 10 to 15 years.

    The first project to be launched will be in Punggol Matilda, comprising about 500 units, in a Build-to-Order exercise next month.

    This will be followed by developments in Tampines North in the second half of next year and in Bidadari in 2015.

    Tampines North, which is slated to be an extension of Tampines Town, will offer about 21,000 homes, of which 80 per cent will be public housing.

    Punggol Matilda, part of Punggol New Town, will yield some 8,000 flats and house about 28,000 residents.

    The housing mix for Bidadari will be 90 per cent public and 10 per cent private.

    Despite its past as a cemetery site, whose graves were exhumed in the early 2000s, property experts have tipped Bidadari to be attractive to home buyers in earlier reports, due to its central location.

    The estate is bounded by Bartley Road, Sennett Estate, Upper Serangoon Road and Mount Vernon Road. It is served by MRT stations on the North East Line and Circle Line.

    Under the estate's development plans, the existing Upper Aljunied Road will be closed to vehicles and open to pedestrians as part of a Heritage Walk, which will recognise the history and heritage of Bidadari.

    The Bidadari Memorial Garden, which was built after the cemetery was removed and which contains some 20 tombstones of Singapore's pioneers, will be integrated into the new park.