No setting sun on this west end...

The Singapore Government released The Land Use Plan to Support Singapore's Future Population, which unveiled bold visions of the likely profile of Singapore and possible land use allocation beyond 2030.

20 May 2016

Jurong Lake District
In January 2013, the Prime Minister’s Office released the population white paper: A Sustainable Population for a Dynamic Singapore. From this paper, much debate was circled around the projection that Singapore’s population could eventually grow from the current 5.3 million people to between 6.5 and 6.9 million by 2030. Eventually, the motion for this paper was amended and passed based on the premise that the population projections beyond 2020 are for the purpose of land use and infrastructure planning, and not as a population target.

In support of the population white paper and a possible growth in population, the Ministry of National Development (MND) subsequently released The Land Use Plan to Support Singapore's Future Population, which unveiled bold visions of the likely profile of Singapore and possible land use allocation beyond 2030.

This Land Use Plan revealed plans to increase the supply of land from the current 71,000 ha to a possible 76,600 ha. This increase is enabled through unlocking and releasing reserved land, via intensifying land usage especially for land currently under low intensity uses (eg. golf courses); as well as through possible future land reclamation projects.

One of the key planning themes of the Land Use Plan was also to develop more commercial nodes island-wide to distribute jobs to residential areas. Achieving growth through decentralisation has always been the key focus for our city planners since the Concept Plan Review in 1991. It offers businesses alternative and more affordable locations as well as bring jobs closer to homes so that travel time and traffic congestion can be minimised.

Reinforcing the vision from the long term Concept Plan 1991, there are four regional centres identified under the Land Use Plan. The regional centres are namely the Tampines Regional Centre, Jurong Lake District, Woodlands Regional Centre and the recently re-introduced Seletar Regional Centre. Tampines Regional Centre was the first to be developed in the 1990s while the plans for Jurong Lake District were unveiled in the Master Plan 2008. Presently, both these regional centres are establishing themselves well.

Ever since being unveiled as part of the draft Master Plan 2008, the 360 ha Jurong Lake District has is fast transforming into Singapore’s biggest commercial hub outside the city centre with a unique lakeside setting. The new Jurong Lake Gardens that will be created in western Singapore by combining the existing Japanese Garden, Chinese Garden, Jurong Lake Park as well as the development of a new Science Centre was reemphasised in the Prime Minister’s National Day Rally in 2014.

Over the years, Jurong has evolved tremendously as compared to its humble beginnings. Today, Jurong is home to a wide spectrum of approximately more than 3,000 companies located in this industrial estate supported by one of the largest public housing estates in Singapore. There are also various private housing projects, commercial developments, education institutions, amenities and even tourist attractions in this estate.

The Master Plan 2014 has outlined another 1,000 or more new homes, 500,000 sq m of office space, 250,000 sq m of retail, F&B and entertainment space and approximately 2,500 hotel rooms to be built in the Jurong Gateway. The new Science Centre will also be moved next to the Chinese Garden MRT station.

To date, Jurong Gateway has fast established itself as a destination retail precinct with close to 2.2 million sq ft of retail space spread over five retail destinations, namely Jem, WestGate, IMM, JCube and BigBox. Some of the mentioned retail establishments have differentiated themselves by offering shoppers a different retail offering the likes of warehouse retailing as well as outlet retailing.

In addition, the retail developments are supported by a growing population with rising affluence. Generally, Jurong can be broadly classified into two planning areas, Jurong East and Jurong West. According to the Census of Population 2010, the residential population for these two planning areas were recorded at 88,118 and 267,524 respectively. Over the 10-year period from the Census of Population 2000 to the Census of Population 2010, the total residential population for the two planning areas grew by 21% from 293,839 to 355,642. It was also reported that the Jurong West planning area is the second largest registered place of address for Singapore Residents, right after Bedok. This is unsurprising given the growing number of both public and private housing in the planning area.

Jurong Lake District has also established itself as a business destination of the West. While it is not uncommon for a metropolis like Singapore to have more than one commercial node, commercial buildings around Jurong Gateway has provided the best alternative quality space for multinational companies to locate their respective headquarters in this precinct. So far, Jurong Gateway boasts approximately 1.1 million sf of office space with little vacancy at this moment. While leasing momentum was slow prior to the completion of the latest building, WestGate, it is eventually almost fully occupied. At the moment, Jurong Lake District is home to major occupiers like Daimler, Great Eastern Life as well as government bodies.

Looking ahead, along with the government’s heavy investment in infrastructure, other factors look set to contribute to its success. Jurong Gateway as a transportation hub will be served by three MRT stations, a bus interchange and two major expressways. The addition of the future Singapore – Kuala Lumpur high speed rail terminal is also expected to be a game changer for this precinct; it will link Singapore to Johor’s economic region of Iskandar as well as to the capital and make Jurong truly an exciting gateway to Singapore.

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