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TODAY , Mar 6, 2012

Public housing to be built at Bukit Brown

SINGAPORE – The southern part of Bukit Brown, where the Old Police Academy stands, will be developed for public housing as an extension of Toa Payoh, revealed Minister of State for National Development Tan Chuan-Jin yesterday.

Mr Tan told the House “this is a difficult decision but it’s a decision we need to make”, as he addressed concerns raised by Members of Parliament (MPs) Charles Chong and Irene Ng as well as Nominated MPs Faizah Jamal and Janice Koh at the Ministry of National Development (MND) Committee of Supply debate.

The MPs were worried about losing a piece of heritage.

Mr Tan reiterated that the road across the cemetery will replace Lornie Road as one of the key links of the 21km Outer Ring Road System that will enable motorists to bypass the city.

The dual four-lane road will connect the existing Thomson Road near Caldecott Hill and will cut through parts of the existing Bukit Brown Cemetery before joining Adam Road near the slip roads leading onto the Pan-Island Expressway.

“There is already a traffic jam at Lornie Road during peak hours, and the new road is urgently needed as more housing is built in the north-east and northern part of Singapore,” he said.

Other options such as tunnelling and the widening of Lornie Road were studied but such moves would cause more damage to the cemetery or would entail land acquisition, he said.

“The proposed road was hence decided upon because it had the least impact,” he added.

Other than the MND, other government agencies have been involved in the planning process, said Mr Tan.

The PUB and the National Parks Board studied the drainage requirements and its impact on the environment before the plan was approved. The Land Transport Authority is also carrying out a biodiversity study to address specific concerns arising from the roadworks.

Efforts are also being made to preserve the history and tradition that the graves represent, with the Urban Redevelopment Authority funding the documentation of around 5,000 graves which may be potentially affected by the new road.

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