Gillman Barracks site being studied for new neighbourhood, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Gillman Barracks site being studied for new neighbourhood

Gillman Barracks – an arts and lifestyle enclave at the southern end of Alexandra Road – is being studied by the Government as a potential site for a new residential neighbourhood.

National Development Minister Desmond Lee told Parliament on March 5 that the new neighbourhood could comprise a mix of public and private housing that will meet demand for homes closer to the city centre.

Completed in 1936, the barracks were originally built to accommodate the Middlesex Regiment – the second British infantry regiment to be housed in Singapore during the colonial era.

After the grounds were handed back to Singapore by the British, they were used by the Singapore Armed Forces between the 1970s and 1980s, before being repurposed into a lifestyle cluster from the 1990s.

The Ministry of National Development (MND) and Housing Board said that existing tenants, whose tenancies will progressively expire by 2030, can continue to stay on site until their tenancies end. They include art galleries and food and beverage outlets.

New tenancies for properties within Gillman Barracks were announced as recently as April 2023 by the Singapore Land Authority (SLA), which has managed the enclave since March 2020.

The area, within Telok Blangah, was also one of 19 areas under study in the Heritage and Identity Structure Plan – one of the products of the long-term plan review by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) which was completed in 2022 and will guide Singapore’s development for the next 50 years and beyond.

Environmental and heritage studies will begin in the second quarter of 2024 ahead of possible development, and are slated to be done in the first half of 2026, said MND and HDB.

Findings from the studies will allow the authorities to “plan sensitively” for the site’s development, added Mr Lee during the debate on his ministry’s budget.

There are currently no heritage protections in place for any of the buildings or structures in the area.

Government agencies said they will engage existing tenants at Gillman Barracks about future plans, and that the new residential neighbourhood could capitalise on the charm of the colonial-era buildings, as well as the site’s proximity to green spaces such as the Southern Ridges and parks in the Labrador area.

Asked for more details about the plans, such as how large the area to be studied will be, the authorities said more details will be shared when ready.

HDB, URA and SLA also said that any further extension or retention of current uses in Gillman Barracks will be assessed at a later point, when the studies are over and development plans are ready.

According to URA’s 2019 masterplan, Gillman Barracks is part of an approximately 27ha area – equivalent in size to about 37 football fields – zoned as a reserve site, indicating that its specific use has yet to be determined.

The site includes the original St Andrew’s Junior College campus that now houses the Academy of Singapore Teachers; some buildings previously occupied by the Pasir Panjang Vocational Institute that are now leased out for commercial and other uses; as well as a sizeable forest patch.

Committee of Supply 2024BUDGET 2024Ministry of National DevelopmentDESMOND LEESINGAPORE PARLIAMENT