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Gillman Barracks Site Being Studied For New Housing

Gillman Barracks site being studied for new housing; 10,000 homes to be built in Yishun

The Government is exploring the possibility of transforming Gillman Barracks, an arts and lifestyle enclave at the southern end of Alexandra Road, into a new residential neighborhood. National Development Minister Desmond Lee informed Parliament on March 5 that the envisioned development could encompass a blend of public and private housing to address the demand for residences closer to the city center.

Constructed in 1936 to house the Middlesex Regiment during the colonial era, Gillman Barracks served the Singapore Armed Forces in the 1970s and 1980s before being repurposed into a lifestyle cluster in the 1990s. Existing tenants, including art galleries and food and beverage outlets, with tenancies expiring by 2030, can remain until their leases conclude.

Environmental and heritage studies for Gillman Barracks are scheduled for the second quarter of 2024, with completion expected in the first half of 2026. The assessments will inform a sensitive development plan for the site, leveraging its colonial-era buildings’ charm and proximity to green spaces such as the Southern Ridges and Labrador parks.

While no heritage protections are currently in place for the area’s structures, government agencies plan to engage existing tenants regarding future plans. Further details, including the size of the study area, will be disclosed when available.

In addition to the Gillman Barracks project, Minister Lee revealed plans for approximately 10,000 homes in the upcoming Chencharu housing area near Khatib MRT station. Expected to be completed by 2040 on a 70ha site, at least 80% of these homes will be public flats. The development will include new recreational, community, and commercial facilities to enhance vibrancy in Yishun.

Minister Lee emphasized the need to cater to citizens’ growing aspirations and a rapidly aging population, citing changes in household composition and preferences for more space as factors driving development demand. He explained that Singapore must recycle land and work with brownfield sites due to the scarcity of undeveloped land, requiring careful planning to forecast future household needs.

Public input for the next draft masterplan, set to be unveiled in 2025, is encouraged, with roving exhibitions in 2024 gathering ideas for the recreation masterplan. The focus of this plan includes leveraging green and blue spaces, bringing recreational areas closer to homes, and ensuring inclusivity for people of all ages and abilities.

More details on the draft masterplan are available at go.gov.sg/URADraftMasterPlan

The Straits Times

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