Woodlands to transform into 'star destination of the North' with new housing, recreational and business facilities

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Woodlands residents viewing a model display of their future town at the launch of the Remaking Our Heartland exhibition in Woodlands, on Sunday (April 16). ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - Woodlands could get almost 10,000 new dwelling units as part of HDB's Remaking Our Heartland (ROH) programme, which is set to transform the entire estate.

The new residential projects, to be sited at Woodlands Central and Woodlands North Coast, were announced by Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong on Sunday (April 16).

The Woodlands Central homes will be located near the Woodlands MRT station and there will be commercial facilities as well. The authorities have yet to decide if these will be public or private units. Meanwhile, the Woodlands North Coast public housing development will offer residents a "housing-in-the-woods" experience by leveraging on the area's natural hilly terrain so residents can enjoy good views of Admiralty Park and the Straits of Johor.

The entire makeover for Woodlands - the Republic's northern regional centre - will be implemented within the next five to 10 years. A budget has yet to be finalised.

The ROH programme aims to spruce up heartlands for Singaporeans. Woodlands, part of HDB's third batch which also includes Toa Payoh and Pasir Ris, is set to undergo the most massive changes.

HDB said that Woodlands will be transformed into the "Star Destination of the North" and listed six "star attractions" to be rolled out across the 1,198 ha neighbourhood.

The first involves expanding the Woodlands Regional Centre.

This comprises two parcels of land - retail hub Woodlands Central, a 30ha area around Woodlands MRT and Causeway Point with a new town plaza; and Woodlands North Coast, a 70ha area between Republic Polytechnic and Woodlands Waterfront.

The second parcel (Woodlands North Coast) is set to house a business park - the first such cluster in the northern region - with land set aside for small and medium enterprises.

The facelift for the Waterfront also means new trails and a nature promenade for residents.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority had said previously that the Woodlands Regional Centre has the potential to eventually provide up to 100,000 jobs when its transformation is completed.

Regional centres are second-tier commercial zones. The other two are Jurong Lake District and the Tampines Regional Centre. Seletar is slated to be the fourth such centre.

The six "star attractions" are:

  • Woodlands Regional Centre set to be a new hub for businesses, especially those with Malaysian and ASEAN links;
  • A new 1.9km community link called WoodsVista Gallery, which will have dedicated cycling and pedestrian paths connecting Woodlands Central to the Waterfront;
WoodsVista Gallery, a new 1.9km scenic community link connecting Woodlands Central and Woodlands waterfront, will be developed. PHOTO: HDB
  • Upgrading of the existing Woodlands Town Garden - a new boardwalk, children play area and heritage corner will be installed. When completed, it will be renamed Marsiling Park;
The existing Woodlands Town Garden will be upgraded and expanded to become a new 'Discovery Playground'. PHOTO: HDB
  • An upcoming integrated healthcare complex called the Woodlands Health Campus. This will include a new acute care hospital, community hospital and nursing home set to be opened in phases from 2022;
  • A new community hub called the Community Nexus next to Admiralty MRT station. It will house facilities such as a medical centre, eldercare and childcare centres, a hawker centre, dining and retail outlets, and housing for the elderly;
Located next to the Admiralty MRT, the Community Nexus will serve as a one-stop hub of facilities for all ages. PHOTO: HDB
  • Upgrading of an existing 4.2km park connector along the North-South MRT line viaduct into a Social Corridor where community gardens, pavilions and rest points, among other things, will be introduced along the route.
The existing park connector that runs along the North-South MRT line viaduct from the east to west of Woodlands will be transformed into a 'Social Corridor'. PHOTO: HDB

HDB's makeover for the town follows a swathe of changes and new commuting options that are set to be completed there over the next few years.

These include three new MRT stations in Woodlands by 2019 as part of the upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line which will also be connected to the future cross-border MRT system linking Woodlands to Johor.

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For many Malaysians who cross the border every day, Woodlands Town Centre is a convenient stop. Hours before the break of dawn, the old town centre situated next to the Causeway kicks into high gear.

The new North-South Expressway, a 21.5km road linking Woodlands to the city, is also likely to be ready in 2026. Last month, the authorities announced a makeover for the Woodlands Checkpoint as well.

HDB said it has engaged 220 residents and community stakeholders in 2015 over seven focus group sessions, in developing these plans for Woodlands.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, its spokesman said the various agencies will work closely to assess if there is any potential environmental impact from the proposed developments, and where necessary, put in place mitigating measures.

Detailed ROH plans for Toa Payoh and Pasir Ris will be announced on April 22 and April 29.

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