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Khaw unveils Woodlands regional hub plans

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National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan yesterday sketched out what Woodlands Regional Centre will be like.

With 100 hectares of space available for development, Woodlands Regional Centre is a key component in reshaping northern Singapore laid out in the recent Land Use plan.

It is expected to serve as a major commercial hub in the north and will take about 15-20 years to fully develop, Mr Khaw said during a community event at Woodlands Ring Road.

But he noted that this time frame for development is in line with the government's prior efforts to spread the population out and bring jobs closer to home. The first such effort started in Tampines in 1992, with the development of Tampines Regional Centre. Jurong Regional Centre was next, launched in 2008.

Woodlands Regional Centre will tap the location's unique features, such as waterfront areas and proximity to Johor Baru, Mr Khaw said.

When completed, it will comprise two precincts: Woodlands North Coast and Woodlands Central.

Woodlands North Coast includes the area between Republic Polytechnic and Woodlands Waterfront. The idea is to create a waterfront destination with a mix of business, residential and lifestyle uses.

For Woodlands Central (the area around Woodlands MRT Station), planners envisage a pedestrian-friendly retail hub for leisure and community events.

Accessibility to Woodlands Regional Centre will improve in "the near future", the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said.

Besides being served by the North-South MRT line, the area will see the addition of two new MRT stations under the Thomson Line.

The future North South Expressway will also link Woodlands, as well as the likes of Sembawang and Yishun, to the city.
"And the planned future rail link to Johor will also enhance our connectivity to Malaysia," URA added.

But a new high-speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore announced last Tuesday is unlikely to be housed there, Channel NewsAsia reported Mr Khaw as saying.

"(It's) unlikely to be in the north because in the north - with our development, as you can see - it will be quite congested."

Woodlands Regional Centre forms part of the new North Coast Innovation Corridor, which stretches from Woodlands to Punggol, presented in the Land Use plan last month.

Besides the expansion of Woodlands Regional Centre, the corridor will also see land being set aside for additional industrial and commercial use, as well as the future development of Seletar Regional Centre.

The plans for Woodlands Regional Centre are preliminary, and URA has launched a website to gather public feedback. It has also invited suggested names for the two new precincts.

The plans for Woodlands Regional Centre will be fine-tuned and subsequently exhibited with the draft Master Plan later this year following the feedback and consultation.

Land use in Singapore is governed by the Master Plan. The latest version has been in place since 2008 and is due for an update, Mr Khaw noted. Following the public viewing and comments, Master Plan 2013 will be finalised next year.

Credit from Business Times - 25 February 2013
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