Dover Forest opens up wider debate on land and housing

The potential clearing of Dover Forest to make way for Build-To-Order flats this year sparked concerns among the public, and the matter was raised in Parliament. Political Correspondent Justin Ong examines the feasibility of alternative public housing sites that have been proposed, and what this episode means in the longer term for the wider debate over development versus conservation.

The core purpose of HDB housing has also emerged as a side issue of the debate over whether to keep Dover Forest (right). With its location in prime District 10 as well as the mature Queenstown estate, some have argued that Dover Forest could be a lo
The core purpose of HDB housing has also emerged as a side issue of the debate over whether to keep Dover Forest (right). With its location in prime District 10 as well as the mature Queenstown estate, some have argued that Dover Forest could be a location that would be less about providing affordable housing than investment and ultimately, profitability.ST FILE PHOTO

Would anyone want to live right next to a noisy train track? For Dover resident Kelvin Leong, the answer - and the choice between clearing a shady forest around an MRT station or building on empty plots of land in nearby Ghim Moh, for the same objective of new public housing - is clear.

The vacant sites, highlighted by the area's MP Christopher de Souza on Feb 1 in a parliamentary motion to preserve Dover Forest, sit around the popular Ghim Moh market and food centre.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2021, with the headline 'Dover Forest opens up wider debate on land and housing'. Subscribe