SINGAPORE: Two new public housing projects will be built at Caldecott and Toa Payoh East in the next five to 10 years, announced the Housing and Development Board (HDB) on Saturday (Apr 22).
The two projects could yield a few thousand units, said HDB. The Caldecott housing estate, which will be about 10 hectares, will be located next to Caldecott MRT station – along the Circle Line and the future Thomson-East Coast Line – and close to the Toa Payoh West Market and Food Centre.
The development at Toa Payoh East, which will be about 4 hectares, is close to the Toa Payoh South Community Centre and Lian Shan Shung Lin Monastery.
“When completed, these new housing projects will inject new facilities that will benefit the surrounding residents,” said HDB. “They will also offer new and younger families the opportunity of living in Toa Payoh.”
The two new HDB housing projects are part of plans to rejuvenate Toa Payoh under the Remaking Our Heartland (ROH) programme. Toa Payoh was the first satellite town planned and built by HDB in the 1960s and is now home to about 120,000 residents.
“Toa Payoh has been transformed today into a modern, vibrant town, with much sought after flats,” Member of Parliament for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC Ng Eng Hen said at the launch of an exhibition to showcase the rejuvenation plans.
“You know that your flats fetch a premium because of the excellent amenities and transport. And, it’s a great town. This remaking our heartland will make Toa Payoh an even better town,” he added.
Under the Remaking Our Heartland programme, all five existing neighbourhood centres in Toa Payoh will be renovated. More facilities will be installed, especially ones to make common areas more senior-friendly, such as ramps and handrails, said HDB.
The 4km-long ring road around Toa Payoh Central will also be spruced up. Seven “pocket parks” will be also be built along the route, with fitness and community facilities installed.
The Toa Payoh Town Centre will be revamped as previously announced, with more seating spaces, sheltered rest areas as well as a possible water play feature.
TOA PAYOH’S HERITAGE CORNER
In response to residents’ requests to preserve Toa Payoh’s history, HDB said that one of the gardens at the Town Centre – the one fronting Block 184 – will be turned into an arts and heritage corner where Toa Payoh’s history will be highlighted through information panels and storyboards. A model of Toa Payoh Town Centre in the 1970s will also be displayed.
Other upgrades to the town include more sheltered pedestrian walkways and cycling paths, while around 1,200 dual bicycle racks will be installed at existing HDB blocks.
Mr Ku Swee Yong, key executive officer of International Property Advisors, said the effort to rejuvenate Toa Payoh is a welcomed one, but warned that homeowners should not mistake the ROH exercise for an asset enhancement programme. Instead, he said it is meant to meet the current needs of residents in an older estate like Toa Payoh, which is home to a relatively larger population of elderly residents.
According to the HDB, close to 30 per cent of the residents in Toa Payoh are aged 60 and above.
“Many of the flats are beyond 30 years of age and have less than 70 years of lease left … the shrinking leases will still lead to depreciating asset values,” Mr Ku said.
Around 100 residents and grassroots leaders took part in focus group discussions in June 2015 to give their ideas for improving Toa Payoh.
Residents can continue to provide their feedback online or at the Remaking Our Heartland exhibition at the HDB Hub Atrium, which will be held from Apr 22 until May 7.