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Farrer Park Site to be Redeveloped into a Public Housing Estate that is Integrated with Comprehensive Sports and Recreational Facilities

Development of this brownfield site will yield some 1,600 new HDB flats to meet the strong housing demand over the next three years, while retaining the sporting heritage and significance of Farrer Park
  Published: 25 April 2022

The Government today unveiled the conceptual plans for the redevelopment of an approximately 10-hectare site in Farrer Park. Jointly announced by the Housing & Development Board (HDB), Sport Singapore (SportSG) and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the redevelopment of this brownfield site will see about 1,600 new HDB flats in the new housing estate integrated with comprehensive sports and recreational facilities. Slated to be launched within the next three years, the flats will support the strong demand for public housing.

The Farrer Park site is bounded by Dorset Road, Keng Lee Road, Hampshire Road and Race Course Road. Since 1998, it has been earmarked for residential use in the Master Plan. The development of the site is in line with the Government’s commitment to redevelop brownfield sites where possible. In addition, its proximity to the city centre will provide options for younger families looking for public housing near to their parents for better mutual care and support, with a shorter commute to workplaces in the city. The site is also well-served by the Little India and Farrer Park MRT stations, which will provide convenient access for residents, as well as enable the wider community to travel easily to use its sports and recreational facilities.

The approximately 10-ha redevelopment site indicated in red, where there is currently a field, former boxing gym, Farrer Park Swimming Complex and Farrer Park Tennis Centre. 


Rich History of the Farrer Park Estate

Farrer Park has a rich and multi-faceted history. It was the site of Singapore’s first racecourse established in 1843. In the 19th century, the racecourse was used as a public racing ground and rifle range. The first flight demonstration in Singapore also took place at this racecourse in 1911.

The area has also been closely associated with Singapore’s sporting heritage since the 1950s, when it served as a training ground for many past and present national athletes, with its cluster of sports facilities such as a track and field stadium, a swimming complex, boxing gym, tennis centre and open field. Like other open spaces within and at the fringe of the city centre, the field at Farrer Park was also used for social and community activities including football and rugby matches. 

Engaging Stakeholders Upstream on Redevelopment Plans

In drawing up the redevelopment plans, agencies have since 2018, been engaging stakeholders such as Friends of Farrer Park (FOFP), members of the heritage community (Heritage Advisory Panel1, and the Heritage and Identity Partnership2) and the sports community, as well as residents of the surrounding area, to explore ways to retain the sporting identity of the area. Many had shared that the sporting heritage and memories of the area make Farrer Park endearing, and hoped that the new housing developments would include the integration of sports facilities. Agencies have also been in close discussion with users of the current site, to facilitate transition plans for their activities and operations. 

Existing residents in the Farrer Park area also shared that they welcomed plans to redevelop the area, and suggested that the upcoming public housing developments incorporate features such as a jogging track, open space for exercise, family-friendly play spaces, sheltered event spaces, and community gardens. Members of FOFP also hoped that more sporting spaces could be introduced where possible.

There were also suggestions to retain existing spaces. For example, some residents proposed the retention and conversion of the former boxing gym building for educational/social use such as a heritage display or studio for sports lessons, while FOFP suggested to retain the existing swimming complex in-situ, and keep the open spaces that are characteristic of Farrer Park.

Future Public Housing Estate to be Integrated with Sports and Recreational Facilities

The stakeholder engagements have provided useful suggestions which have helped agencies refine the redevelopment plans. Taking the feedback into consideration, agencies have adjusted the plans to capture the rich history and heritage of Farrer Park as a ‘sporting commons’, and to bring the community closer together through a myriad of sports and recreational activities at these spaces. 

The upcoming housing projects will be seamlessly integrated with new and redeveloped sports and recreational facilities.  This will strengthen the unique identity of Farrer Park as a social and sporting node. These facilities will be open to everyone, from existing and future residents of the area to visitors, bringing the community together to create new shared experiences.

Conceptual plan for the Farrer Park site. Actual design may differ.

The community can look forward to a myriad of sports and recreational spaces within the new housing estate:

• Taking on board the feedback from residents and FOFP, about 20% of the site will be set aside as open spaces for sports and recreational uses. This will include an approximately 1.2-hectare central green space comprising a field and park, extended via a precinct green. Existing and future residents, as well as the wider community, can bond through various social and recreational activities in these outdoor spaces. 

• The boxing gym will be retained and converted to a multi-purpose community sporting space. It was the former training ground for the Singapore Amateur Boxing Association and venue for boxing tournaments, and agencies will ensure that works to the building will capture the architectural character and retain key features of the building. This will be integrated within one of the housing developments for residents’ easy access. 

Artist’s impression of one of the upcoming public housing projects at Farrer Park. The retained boxing gym (in yellow) will be converted to a community sports facility. Actual design may differ.

Sports facilities will be incorporated within the Multi-Storey Car Park (MSCP) in the estate, which will be specially designed so that the ground floor can be set aside for sporting activities. This will complement the other facilities around the estate such as 3-Generation playgrounds and fitness corners, creating a seamless experience for users and encouraging the community to keep fit and stay active.

A jogging track will weave through the entire new housing estate, to connect the various sports and recreational facilities.

• At the 2019 Draft Master Plan Exhibition, it was mentioned that the Farrer Park Swimming Complex would be retained in addition to the former boxing gym. However, after further detailed studies, agencies have assessed that it will not be feasible to retain the swimming complex due to various technical considerations. In particular, the existing pool shows signs of listing (indicative of ground settlement issues) and the pool filtration and underground piping system are dated and in need of complete overhaul to ensure the quality of the pool facilities. Given this, the refurbishment of the swimming complex would not be cost-effective. Agencies have therefore planned to build a new sports centre at the same location which will include swimming pools and other sporting facilities that will meet the needs of the community and also welcome new users to the area.

Artist’s impression of the future public housing estate incorporating sports and recreational facilities, including a new sports centre and jogging track that will weave through various developments. Actual design may differ. 

Besides sports facilities, future residents will also enjoy a wide range of amenities within and beyond the site. This includes new commercial and social communal facilities in the housing developments, such as precinct shops and a childcare centre, to meet residents’ daily needs. Tekka Market and KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital are also in the vicinity. 

Rejuvenating Farrer Park

The approach of redeveloping brownfield sites where possible will enable Singapore to meet the evolving needs of our city and residents, while optimising our limited land and ensuring more sustainable development. The rejuvenation of Farrer Park will bring in new residents, and also attract new users to the park and sporting facilities, thus serving the needs of the wider community while retaining the heritage and significance of Farrer Park. It is a judicious balance of competing uses for our limited land and the interests of current stakeholders and the wider Singapore community. As agencies study the detailed design of the future developments, we will continue to work with the relevant stakeholders to enhance the character and identity of the estate. These include drawing inspiration from the rich history of Farrer Park in designing the estate, possibly through thematic playgrounds and motifs, and weaving in heritage elements into the upcoming sports facilities. More details will be shared when ready. 


1 The Heritage Advisory Panel comprises experts across different disciplines. The Panel advises on the National Heritage Board’s (NHB) work in areas of tangible heritage and intangible cultural heritage. It is part of ongoing efforts to consult widely and to seek advice from various experts on heritage matters.

2 The Heritage and Identity Partnership (HIP) serves as a platform for regular dialogue between URA and its members of diverse backgrounds, including individuals from the building industry, arts and heritage sector, business and property owners and academia. HIP provides feedback and suggestions on ways to sustain and manage built heritage and identity, and to promote greater public understanding of built heritage.  
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