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Punggol 21 Plus masterplan is a long-term one: Grace Fu

By Valarie Tan, Channel NewsAsia
15 September 2007

SINGAPORE : The new Punggol 21 Plus is a long-term plan and is thus not expected to be completed in the next five years.

Minister of State for National Development, Grace Fu, says the masterplan, announced recently, will take time to study and develop.

She was responding to a query at a dialogue with residents on Saturday afternoon.

The majority of participants at the dialogue said yes to a new waterway lifestyle at Punggol 21 Plus.

They especially look forward to living just steps away from a man-made river built right in the heart of Punggol.

But some residents were impatient about the estate's development plans.

Desmond Koh, Resident, Mountbatten, says: "Do I have to wait another 10 years later to meet again and give feedback on Punggol? How fast does this development move because I have some friends staying in Punggol. They say the LRT there is not very developed."

Punggol 21 was initiated some 10 years ago in 1996 and was pitted to be the next lively housing estate in Singapore with over 90,000 public and private units.

But then the economic crisis kicked in and demand for new flats dipped and construction slowed down.

Still, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) says new flats and facilities will continue to be built according to demand.

Ms Fu says: "This is a long-term project so do not expect to see this in the next few years. It's something that we're going to work on definitely. It's going to go into the plan but it will take some time. We will build flats across the island but not in a very big way. The major development will be in Punggol, in Sengkang.

"That's really the plan that we have. As to how many flats how many units, we have to adapt those plans according to needs. We do go through economic cycles and people do change their plans. We have cases of lots of people queueing up saying they want to buy new flats, and in a year later, the queue actually disappeared because we went through a downturn."

Tay Kim Poh, CEO, HDB, says: "We're building about 2,000 to 3,000 flats a year (in Punggol). Today we have about close to 19,000 flats completed or under construction on the ground. Within the next few years, we're going to see a lot more flats coming up. Most of them will be located near the town centre. That will give us enough catchment to proceed with the developments of the town centre."

Punggol 21 Plus is part of the HDB "Remaking The Heartlands" plan.

And so far the plans have been seen by over 33,000 people at exhibitions in Toa Payoh, Tampines and Punggol

While many welcome the new flat designs, a majority of them were concerned about costs, and hope that the new flat units will not come with too high a premium.

But according to feedback to HDB, 81 percent of residents said they were willing to pay more for service and conservancy to enjoy the new flat designs.

About half of them said they were willing to pay above S$10 more than the usual rates. - CNA/ch

Comment: Channel 5 reports a statement from PUB about sustainable construction, reusing soil being dug up to be used for the new riverbed.*

*Needs to be verified

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