We thank Mr Peh Chwee Hoe, Mr Neo Poh Goon and Mr Jeffrey Law for their letters (Changes to packed CBD hawker centres needed, Nov 22; More new hawker centres needed, Nov 25; and Too many malls, not enough hawker centres, Nov 28)
The Government had earlier announced long-term plans to build 20 new hawker centres to be located in new estates, or existing estates that are relatively under-served. The timeline for hawker centre development is driven by various factors, such as the availability of sites for development as well as the current and projected population of the town.
Seven of the 20 hawker centres have been completed and are in operation. The remaining upcoming hawker centres are in various stages of planning, design development or construction. We are pleased to inform Mr Law that five of these centres are located in Sengkang and Punggol towns in the north-east, and are expected to be completed within the next four years.
As for existing hawker centres, several rounds of upgrading have taken place as most were built in the early 1980s or earlier. The most extensive is the Hawker Centres Upgrading Programme (HUP) carried out by the National Environment Agency (NEA) between 2001 and 2013. Among other HUP upgrading works, centres were reconfigured with bigger stalls and wider passageways, and where necessary, NEA would also take the opportunity to increase the seating capacity of the centre.
For instance, the new Marsiling Mall Hawker Centre has 1,072 seats, an increase from 940 seats from the Block 4A Woodlands Centre Road hawker centre that it replaced.
As for hawker centres in the Central Business District (CBD), the number has remained the same since 2000. We will continue to assess the need for more hawker centres or stalls in tandem with developments in the CBD and the availability of other food options.
We agree with Mr Peh that the seating layout of hawker centres should meet the needs of the hawker centre and its clientele. We will take his suggestion into account when planning new centres or upgrading existing ones.
Director, Hawker Centres Division
National Environment Agency