MND seeks views on idea of housing several places of worship under one roof

A picture of the Catholic Church of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at Upper Serangoon Road. The Ministry of National Development has sought views on housing several places of worship of the same religion under one roof. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
A picture of the Catholic Church of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at Upper Serangoon Road. The Ministry of National Development has sought views on housing several places of worship of the same religion under one roof. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

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

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

With 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 on Thursday 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 consultation with the religious organisations, the MND is exploring the concept of a "multi-user place of worship facility". Such a multi-storey development 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.

The MND's Request for Information is open to Chinese temples and churches from Dec 11 to 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 residential housing 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.