Yew Tee to have Singapore’s second vertical ‘kampung’ with flats for seniors, ready by 2026

The hardcourt where future developments in Yew Tee are scheduled to take place, on Sept 22, 2019. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - Residents in Yew Tee can look forward to having Singapore's second vertical "kampung" where the elderly can live and access facilities such as a polyclinic and community club within the same development.

It is expected to be completed in 2026 and will be located beside Yew Tee MRT station.

The Yew Tee Integrated Development will be developed by the Housing Board, together with the People's Association, Ministry of Health and National Environment Agency, announced Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong on Sunday (Sept 22).

Speaking at Yew Tee Town Day, Mr Wong said it will be located at the current hardcourt at Yew Tee Close and is modelled on the Kampung Admiralty project, which has garnered positive feedback and won international awards.

"It will have two-room flexi flats for seniors, just like Kampung Admiralty. It will have a community club, it will have a polyclinic and a kidney dialysis centre. Most importantly, because of your feedback and requests, it will have a hawker centre as well," said Mr Wong.

The thought process behind the project was not initially targeted at an integrated development, shared Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC MP Alex Yam, who is in charge of the Yew Tee ward.

"We started because residents were looking at lowering the cost of living for food, which is why we were working very hard to push for a new hawker centre," he said, adding that planning started back in 2013.

Due to the land scarcity in Yew Tee, Mr Yam said they had to fully utilise the land, and added on the idea for a polyclinic, and then later in 2015, a community club.

"This piece of land that we have is very valuable to us, because it's where our residents gather together, it's where we bring our community together. To give up that piece of land must be worth our while."

It was during a discussion with Minister Wong that the idea for a "big project" which included providing residential facilities, especially for older residents, came up.

Dr Lam Pin Min, Senior Minister of State for Health, said the polyclinic is part of the Health Ministry's plan to strengthen primary care in the community, working with general practitioners.

"One of the reasons we are looking at this new polyclinic in Yew Tee is because of the feedback from residents, as well as from patients, that the Choa Chu Kang Polyclinic is actually quite crowded," explained Dr Lam.

The Health Ministry said in a news release that the new Yew Tee Polyclinic will be operated by National University Polyclinics.

It will provide primary care services to Choa Chu Kang residents, including chronic disease management, women and children's health services, and psychological services.

Yew Tee Polyclinic is the latest in a slate of upcoming polyclinics, with six new ones ready by 2023 in Bukit Panjang, Eunos, Kallang, Khatib, Sembawang and Tampines North, and two more by 2025, in Serangoon and Tengah.

"By 2030, there will be a total of 30 to 32 polyclinics in Singapore," the MOH said.

Estimated to be completed by the second half of 2026, the Yew Tee Integrated Development will be the second such one, after Kampung Admiralty opened in May last year.

The 11-storey Kampung Admiralty was the first HDB project to co-locate childcare and senior centres in one integrated development, aimed at encouraging inter-generational bonding.

At that launch, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had said that "we will build more kampungs like this in future HDB estates".

At the Yew Tee Town Day event, 3,000 residents took part in activities including a brisk walk, exhibitions and carnival.

Mr Ang Tang Yian, 58, has been living in Yew Tee since 1996, and is looking forward to the revitalisation of the location, along with the convenience of the new community club.

Mr Ang, who lives just across the road from the plot of land where the new community club will be built, currently goes to Yew Tee Community Club to attend taiji courses.

"It (the plan) is very good. The empty plot has been empty for very long already," said Mr Ang, who works part-time in a medical hall.

Another long-time Yew Tee resident, Ms Wanie Kayleigh Gomez, 27, said she was looking forward to the area becoming more vibrant with the new developments.

"I grew up here, so I'm really looking forward to see the changes and the addition of more facilities," said the advertising and marketing associate, who has lived there for two decades.

She added that the polyclinic would lessen her hassle when taking her four children, aged one to seven, for their immunisations and health check-ups, as she no longer has to travel all the way to Choa Chu Kang Polyclinic.

At Sunday's event, Minister Wong also announced upcoming plans for the other estates in the area.

Choa Chu Kang will get its first hawker centre, with a new one slated to be built in the Choa Chu Kang town centre, something which Mr Wong said "many residents there have asked for".

There are currently no hawker centres in Choa Chu Kang town, with the closest being Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre, about 3km away.

He also announced the creation of a "green spine" under the MRT viaduct where residents frequently walk to get to and from the station.

"Under the MRT viaduct, there is a lot of space. We will create a green spine, which will connect residents from Keat Hong to Limbang to Yew Tee. It will provide more greenery and more park facilities for our residents," he said.

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