Natural and built heritage to be conserved as Springleaf forested area is developed
Natural and built heritage to be conserved as Springleaf forested area is developed. Springleaf, a mostly forested area, will be developed as a mixed-use site, with some natural and built heritage elements preserved.
The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) announced on Monday (June 6) that housing will be built in the area to meet demand and take advantage of the Springleaf MRT station on the Thomson-East Coast Line, which opened last year.
The site is more than 30ha in size and is bounded by the Seletar Expressway, Mandai Road, and Upper Thomson Road.
Approximately half of it is currently zoned for residential, as well as mixed commercial and residential use, while the remaining quarter, or 8.5ha, is zoned as park land and the rest is a reserve site.
An environmental baseline study was conducted in 2018, according to the URA. It then enlisted the assistance of a multidisciplinary team of ecologists and landscape architects to “explore potential ideas for sensitive development that would protect the area’s rich biodiversity.”
The agency commissioned an environmental impact assessment in 2020 to understand how its development plans would affect the site, which includes two zones identified by studies as significant biodiversity conservation areas.
According to a URA spokesman, the park area will be expanded to 10ha to 15ha, roughly half the size of the Springleaf site, based on the recommendations of the impact assessment. He also stated that the planned residences in the area will be private.
The National Parks Board announced on Monday that the new park in Springleaf, Nee Soon Nature Park, was identified as a buffer for the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, as well as an ecological link between it and the upcoming Khatib Bongsu Nature Park, through a scientific study.
According to the URA’s diagrams, Sungei Seletar, which runs through the site, will be kept as part of the park, as will the immediate surroundings around significant biodiversity areas.
According to the URA, future buildings in the area will have smaller footprints to reduce habitat loss and greener facades to avoid being hit by birds in flight.
Buildings will also be built on “disturbed ground” – previously developed land – and in less sensitive areas, it said, adding that construction will be phased to minimize environmental impact.
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