150,000 new homes can be built in new Paya Lebar town: PM Lee

PM Lee said with the relocation of the airbase, building height restrictions for neighbouring towns can be removed as well.

Low Jia Ying | August 21, 2022, 09:11 PM

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The Ministry of National Development (MND) estimated that 150,000 new homes can be built on the site where Paya Lebar Airbase (PLAB) currently sits, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his National Day Rally speech today (Aug. 21).

PM Lee shared more details on the long-term redevelopment plans for PLAB, which is slated to move out in the 2030s to make way for a new town.

In his speech, he also assured Singaporeans that Singapore will have enough space for future generations, and that housing will remain affordable.

3.8km runway aligned with prevailing winds, town will be "naturally breezy"

PM Lee said that while the relocation of PLAB will only start in the 2030s, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has already begun engaging the public and industry partners to explore redevelopment concepts for the new town.

He noted that the airbase's 3.8km long runway is aligned along the direction of prevailing winds.

This is so that aircraft can avoid crosswinds when they take off and land.

The future town can be oriented to be parallel to the runway, which would make the town “naturally breezy”, PM Lee said.

“Hopefully, residents won't need air conditioning quite as much,” he added.

The runway could be repurposed into the town’s central spine, to be turned into a green connector, or community space extending from one end of the town to the other, said PM Lee.

"It will be a distinctive and attractive heritage feature, unique to Paya Lebar," he said. Public and private housing can be built on both sides of the spine.

Image via URA.

“MND estimates we can build around 150,000 new homes, which is roughly what we have in Punggol plus Sengkang today,” he said.

Amenities and recreational areas would be sited nearby, along with commercial and industrial developments, “to bring jobs closer to our homes”.

Building height restrictions can be lifted, nearby towns can be developed too

The airbase’s relocation brings other benefits besides repurposing the land currently occupied by PLAB.

“We can lift some of the building height restrictions around [PLAB],” said PM Lee, citing estates like Hougang, Marine Parade, and Punggol as examples.

“This means we can redevelop these towns, include more amenities, and make much better use of the space there,” he said.

This could mean being able to “completely reimagine” the Eastern part of Singapore.

"No need to worry" about running out of space

PM Lee also noted that Singaporeans may worry about running out of space in the future, and that housing will not be available and affordable.

"I say: No need to worry. We have done our studies and planning. We will have enough space for future generations," he said.

He said Singapore's problem was not about "finding the space to build enough flats, nor keeping homes affordable for Singaporeans".

"Our problem is having enough babies to grow up and live in them! [...] Our island may be small, but it holds great potential."

PM Lee said Paya Lebar was just one example of how the government is reimagining and transforming Singapore.

He said this is the case for many other areas in Singapore too, like the Jurong Lake District and the Greater Southern Waterfront.

"Each new estate will be more liveable, greener, more sustainable than the previous one," said PM Lee.

Top photos via MCI and URA