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East Coast may offer 6,000 new HDB flats

Home hunters could soon get a shot at new Housing Board flats with coveted sea views along Singapore's East Coast.

The Government is looking into creating a new Bayshore district, which includes 6,000 HDB flats - a huge change for the overwhelmingly private estate area located on reclaimed land. Another 6,500 units will be set aside as private homes.

If they materialise, these Bayshore flats would be the first HDB homes built along the East Coast since the old-generation Marine Parade flats constructed in the 1970s, some of which have fetched more than $900,000 on the resale market in recent months.

The potential development is detailed in tender documents put up by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and which were reported by Lianhe Zaobao yesterday, calling for consultancy firms to develop a master plan for the plot.

The Bayshore district spanning 60 ha is surrounded by Bayshore Road, the East Coast Parkway, Bedok Camp and Upper East Coast Road.

With parts of it currently occupied by a forest, it is about two-thirds the size of Bidadari.

The plot is located between two MRT stations on the upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) - Bayshore and Bedok South - and is expected to have facilities and services such as schools, shops and an integrated transport hub.

The tender will be conducted in two phases and the appointed firm will submit its final proposal in December this year, URA said in the documents.

But a URA spokesman told The Straits Times that parts of the area will be used for the construction of the TEL for several years, and that "implementation will not be in the near future". The two stations are expected to open by 2024.

Rather, the invitation to private sector consultants is meant to generate "new ideas for (Bayshore) to be developed into a future public and private housing precinct that supports car-lite living, with a strong sense of community and environmental sustainability", the URA spokesman added.

"The number of public and private housing units has been projected as 6,000 public units and 6,500 private units, and is still under study."

Some observers are concerned that the increase in population in the area would put a strain on its transport networks and amenities.

The total of 12,500 residential units translates to 42,375 people, going by Singapore's average household size of 3.39 persons.

National University of Singapore urban planning expert Steven Choo welcomed the development, as a new HDB town with its "thoughtful design and technological advances" could increase the property value of landed property in Upper East Coast Road.

But he was surprised to hear about the development, given that the Government announced last October that it was looking into ways to mitigate the "lottery effect" of public housing in prime locations.

For instance, some owners of Pinnacle@Duxton flats in Cantonment Road made nearly up to $500,000 when they sold their assets after the five-year minimum occupation period ended in 2014.

But for student and Upper East Coast resident Bryan Lee, 19, the HDB flats would make the hope of living near his parents in the future more achievable.

He said: "This is a good location, very peaceful and near the park. But, more importantly, I hope to get this place if I get married, so that I can be near my parents and take care of them."

Adapted from: The Straits Times, 19 January 2017

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