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Measures to Improve the Living Environment for Non-Landed Residential Estates through the Following: a) Minimum Plot Size for Flat Developments Island-Wide b) Guide on Maximum Allowable Number of Dwelling Units for Flat and Condominium Developments in Residential Areas Zoned for GPR 1.4

  Published: 23 November 2011
Circular No : URA/PB/2011/14-DCG
Fax : 6227 4792


Who Should Know:
Building owners, developers and architects

Effective Date:
24 November 2011

Current Situation

  1. Residential areas zoned for GPR 1.4 in the Master Plan are intended for low-rise, low-density housing. Supporting infrastructure and services are thus planned and provided for based on this planning intention. Currently, most of these areas consist of predominantly landed housing with a mix of low-rise flats, and are generally served by small local access roads. In line with the Master Plan planning intention, sites in such areas are allowed to be redeveloped into flats of up to 5 storeys as long as the relevant Development Control (DC) requirements such as setback, planting strip and the provision of sufficient car parking are met.
  2. Currently, there are no controls on the minimum plot sizes for flat developments, except where it involves landed houses detaching from adjoining party-wall landed houses (i.e. breakaway proposals in the context of a pair of semi-detached houses or a row of terrace houses) for an independent flat development. We have observed a trend for flat developments to be built on increasingly smaller plots in recent years, with some on plots previously occupied by just one landed house.
  3. This trend has also been facilitated by the increased usage of mechanised parking systems, which allows the developments to overcome the physical constraints of small plot sizes. Compared to the past, developers can now build many more units and yet provide the minimum number of car parking lots required by LTA. Typically, such developments include many small shoebox units. Collectively, these new developments inject a much larger number of housing units in an area than what was planned for.
  4. If left unchecked, the proliferation of such developments will result in a total number of residential units beyond what the infrastructure of an area can support. For instance, there would be a strain on the existing road system, resulting in traffic friction and congestion. This problem will be felt particularly in the low-density residential estates zoned GPR 1.4, as many of these areas are served by small local access roads not designed to cope with the large number of housing units.
  5. In addition, we have observed that due to their small plot sizes, flat developments tend to provide minimal landscaping or communal open areas. Such residential estates are becoming increasingly cramped and dense with many fragmented plots containing small flat developments with minimal greenery and landscaping. This compromises the living environment, both within the developments and the overall estate.
  6. Based on the ground observations and feedback received from residents in these estates, a comprehensive review was undertaken with other relevant authorities to establish development guidelines to improve the living environment of residential estates. We have also consulted professional institutes like REDAS, SIA and SIP, who share similar concerns about the impact of the recent development trends on the living environment. To ensure that the low density character and living environment are not eroded, URA is introducing the following set of guidelines for non-landed residential developments:
    1. Minimum plot size requirement of 1,000sqm for all new flat developments island-wide
    2. Guide on the maximum number of dwelling units (DUs) for flat and condominium developments within GPR 1.4 residential estates

Details of Guidelines

Minimum Plot Size Requirement for Flat Developments Island-wide

  1. A minimum plot size requirement of 1,000sqm is introduced for all new flat developments island-wide to safeguard a better quality residential development. This will align flat developments with other residential developments like landed housing and condominiums which also have minimum plot size controls.
  2. With this, for all breakaway proposals from existing landed housing for flat developments within non-safeguarded landed housing areas, the aggregate land area for the left-behind plots must also satisfy the minimum plot size of 1,000sqm.
  3. The minimum plot size requirement will help to facilitate more openness in residential developments and enable wider spacing between buildings. With a minimum land area of 1,000sqm, there is also more space within the site to provide for meaningful landscaping and communal facilities.
  4. Existing residential flat developments, infill sites and left behind plots of previous approved breakaway cases that are less than 1,000sqm will still be given the flexibility to develop into flats. The minimum plot size requirements will not apply to flat developments within areas affected by streetblock plans or other special controls (e.g. conservation guidelines for shophouses, Geylang Urban Design Guidelines, party-wall requirements, etc.).

Guide on the Maximum Number of Dwelling Units (DUs) For Flat and Condominium Developments within GPR 1.4 Residential Estates

  1. To ensure that redevelopment carried out within GPR 1.4 residential estates can be supported by the local infrastructural capacities, a guide on the maximum number of dwelling units (DUs) for flat and condominium developments within GPR 1.4 residential estates is introduced using the following formula:

Maximum number of DUs
per development



MP Allowable GPR[1] x Site Area

70 sqm

[1]Excludes bonus GFA
  1. The DU guide is also applicable to the residential component of mixed-use developments (e.g. Residential with 1st Sty Commercial or Commercial & Residential developments) within GPR 1.4 residential estates (see Appendix 1) and other low-rise, low-density residential estates.
  2. The DU guide is intended to safeguard liveability by ensuring that the number of DUs proposed in a development does not overly strain the infrastructural capacity of GPR 1.4 areas. At the same time, it ensures that the living environment does not become overly congested. Developers still have the flexibility to propose residential units in a range of sizes, as long as the total number of units introduced is in line with the formula.

Telok Kurau Estate and Other Potentially Problematic GPR 1.4 Areas

  1. While the measures above will serve to mitigate the impact of developments within most GPR 1.4 estates, we have also observed that the local conditions at certain GPR 1.4 clusters could be more severe. One area is the Telok Kurau Estate (see Appendix 2).
  2. For Telok Kurau Estate, we note that existing landed houses have been redeveloped into 5-storey flat developments at a rapid pace with a proliferation of small units. This rapid injection of a large number of units has resulted in significantly higher traffic volumes along the existing narrow local access roads (lorongs). The peculiar layout of Telok Kurau Estate, with half of the estate’s lorongs leading to dead ends fronting Siglap Canal and having only a single discharge point into the main Telok Kurau Road has also aggravated problems like traffic congestion and friction.
  3. To better address these local issues, URA and LTA have jointly studied the road capacity of Telok Kurau Estate to ensure further redevelopment within the estate is carried out at a more sustainable manner. Based on the study, in addition to the minimum plot size requirement of 1,000sqm for flat developments, a more stringent guide on the allowable number of DUs for flat and condominium developments within the Telok Kurau Estate is applicable using the following formula: 

Maximum number of DUs
per development



MP Allowable GPR[1] x Site Area

100 sqm

[1] Excludes bonus GFA
  1. Besides Telok Kurau Estate, URA and LTA have also identified 2 more estates – Kovan and Joo Chiat/ Jalan Eunos (see Appendix 3-5), as potentially problematic GPR 1.4 clusters because of their critical mass, with these being the 2 largest GPR 1.4 clusters across the island. Hence, the potential cumulative effect of redevelopment at these areas could pose a more severe strain on the local infrastructure than other GPR 1.4 clusters island-wide.
  2. A detailed joint study between URA and LTA is currently underway for these two areas to determine if more stringent DU guides, similar to those applied to Telok Kurau Estate, are required based on the infrastructural capacity of the area. The study is expected to be completed by the 3Q of 2012. In the mean time, the guidelines on the minimum plot size and the guide on the maximum number of DUs given in paragraphs 7 and 11 respectively will apply for these 2 estates.
  3. We will continue to monitor if these guidelines are sufficient for all other residential areas island-wide. Additional guidelines may be imposed on specific areas if the situation warrants them.


  1. The new guidelines will take effect from 24 Nov 2011 for all relevant applications involving new erections of non-landed residential developments. Only formal development applications (excluding Outline Applications) submitted prior to 24 Nov 2011 which have already been granted Provisional Permission or which will result in a Provisional Permission will continue to be evaluated under the old guidelines[2].
[2]Development applications submitted prior to 24 Nov 2011 resulting in an Advice or Refusal of Written Permission (RWP) will be evaluated based on the new guidelines upon submission after the Advice or RWP.
  1. I would appreciate it if you could convey the contents of this circular to the relevant members of your organisation. If you or your members have any queries concerning this circular, please do not hesitate to call our Development Control Group (DCG) Enquiry Line at Tel: 6223 4811 or e-mail us at ura_dcd@ura.gov.sg. We will be pleased to answer queries on this subject and any other development control matters. For your information, our past circulars to the professional institutes are available from our website http://www.ura.gov.sg.
Thank You.


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