Plotting a balance

Letter from Hwang Yu-Ning Group Director (Physical Planning) Urban Redevelopment Authority

IN HIS Property commentary “Time to relook plot ratios” (July 30), Today editor-at-large Conrad Raj commented that the plot ratios in Singapore could be less restrictive and suggested that plot ratios should be raised for popular areas. The writer also queried the need to restrict the height of developments.

The URA agrees with the writer that land is a valuable resource in Singapore. Optimising the use of land is key to our land use planning. We want to assure Mr Raj that our general practice has indeed been to accord higher plot ratios to developments in locations within and near the Central Business District and near MRT stations.

Nonetheless, optimising land use does not necessarily mean that every piece of land should be built up to the maximum height and plot ratio. There are wider considerations when determining the appropriate plot ratios and height for a particular area.

Variation of plot ratio and building height is adopted to provide choices and confer character to an area. This is an important consideration to ensure a quality living environment for Singapore residents. For instance, providing a variety of housing types in terms of density mix gives people the choice to live in a high, medium, low-rise development, or in a landed home.

Together with our partner agencies, the URA takes a holistic perspective to ensure that intensification of land use is in tandem with the growth and the efficient use of our public infrastructure, such as roads and rail lines. We also ensure that development and intensification are not done at the expense of the quality of the living environment. Raising the plot ratios of too many land parcels in a particular area can lead to overcrowding and severe traffic congestion in the area.

The writer also noted that a development charge may be imposed on developers and architects who exceed the plot ratio stipulation in their designs. We would like to clarify that development charge leviable is not based on the plot ratio stipulation, but the enhancement in land value above the approved development.

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