Experts don’t foresee more surprise land acquisitions



The government had previously announced plans to redevelop golf course land for other uses, such as housing.

Experts believe the surprise acquisitions of Jurong Country Club and Raffles Country Club to make way for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) are not likely to continue, reported The Straits Times.

This is because most demands on Singapore’s land resources have already been identified and planned for in advance, explained private sector urban planner Sarah Lin. Plans for the HSR project, on the other hand, were only finalised in recent years, hence the need for land acquisition.

But as Singapore struggles with competing needs, the government has kept an eye on what land can be tapped as it targets to build long-term infrastructure. With this, experts have identified various sources which include the underused pockets of industrial land, as well as the 800ha of land freed up by the future relocation of Paya Lebar airbase.

Golf courses have also been on their radar.

In 2013, the government announced plans to redevelop golf course land for other uses, such as housing. Back then, there were 18 golf courses occupying around 1,500ha of land. The following year, the Ministry of Law revealed that 219ha of such land would be made available from 2030, after the expiration of the golf courses’ leases.

Tan Boon Khai, CEO of the Singapore Land Authority (SLA), on Wednesday (4 January) noted that golf courses are not being targeted for land acquisitions. However, development plans are being considered whenever their leases are reviewed.

And in the event push does come to shove, housing, economic, industrial and infrastructure uses will all be given priority over lifestyle uses like golfing, said R’ST Research Director Ong Kah Seng.

“Golf courses, which cater to upmarket, lifestyle needs, will definitely have to give way to other competing needs which are more critical and benefit the masses.”

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