Sengkang ( Chinese: 盛港 , Tamil: செங்காங் ) is a planning area and residential town located in the North-East Region of Singapore. Sengkang shares boundaries with Seletar and Punggol in the north, Pasir Ris and Paya Lebar in the east, Hougang and Serangoon to the south, as well as Yishun and Ang Mo Kio to the west.

Originally a fishing village, the area is undergoing rapid development under the ambition of the Housing and Development Board (HDB) to transform it into a fully mature housing estate. The town is made up of four neighbourhoods.

Etymology

The name Sengkang means "prosperous harbour" in Chinese. The name comes from a road called Lorong Sengkang, off Lorong Buangkok. The area was formerly known as Kangkar ( Gang Jiao 港脚) or "foot of the port" as there was once a fishing port located along Sungei Serangoon. Fishing villages and rubber, pepper and pineapple plantations flourished in the area in the old days.

History

Before the town was developed into a modern housing estate, the area was a home to vegetable and pig farms, and tropical forests. The only public housing estate then was the Punggol Rural Centre, comprising a few low-rise residential blocks (blocks 1–5, 206 & 207) accommodating resettled farmers located along Punggol Road. [59] These blocks at the rural centre have since been demolished in 2005, to make way for future high-rise residential apartment blocks.

In 1994, an urban design team of 10 from HDB started conceptualisation for a new town in Sengkang. Sengkang was carved up into six neighbourhoods that will eventually house a total of 95,000 public and private housing units in the long term.

Sengkang's rich history became the theme for its future – Town of the Seafarer. Three neighbourhoods carry a marine sub-theme, while the other three will reflect the past when sprawling plantations covered parts of the area. The six neighbourhoods are planned to have names and colour schemes to go with their respective themes. Its past is today reflected in the design of its housing, seen in the three-storey pilotis or stilt effect that all the housing blocks have, reminiscent of the stilts of fishing villages and trunks of the various plantations of bygone years.

The town's first apartment blocks (known locally as flats ) at Rivervale were completed in 1997. By August 2001, about 33,700 dwelling units have been completed. As at 31 March 2006, there are 384 HDB apartment blocks with 39,982 units in Sengkang New Town, comprising 16,017 four-roomers, 19,477 five-roomers and 4,488 executive flats.

In October 1999, a steering committee chaired by Dr Michael Lim, Member of Parliament for Cheng San Group Representation Constituency, was formed to look into providing sufficient amenities in Sengkang New Town, in view of feedback from residents. The Sengkang Town Development Steering Committee comprises grassroots leaders and the representatives of government agencies, and has four sub-committees taking care of town development, transportation, education, and social aspects. It coordinated and sped up the provision of town amenities, and completed its report on the need for facilities and services in the new town in July 2000.

Geography

Sengkang is situated to the north of Hougang New Town, in the north-eastern part of Singapore, under the North-East Region as defined by Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

The town is bordered to the north by the Tampines Expressway (TPE), to the east by Sungei Serangoon ( Serangoon River), Buangkok Drive to the south and Jalan Kayu to the west. Sungei Punggol ( Punggol River) cuts through the new town, and divides the town into Sengkang East and Sengkang West . The Sengkang Town Centre is located in Compassvale. A new industrial area, 'Sengkang West Industrial Area', is to be built to the west of Jalan Kayu in the near future, bounded by a road which was completed in 2015. [57]

The new road, Sengkang West Road, begins where Yio Chu Kang Road and Jalan Kayu intersect, passes through the extended roads of Fernvale Lane, Sengkang West Avenue, Sengkang West Way in front of the Fernvale neighbourhood, cuts through TPE across the proposed Seletar Aerospace Flyover and links to the future upgraded Seletar Aerospace Park. A section of the road between Yio Chu Kang Road and Sengkang West Avenue was opened on 13 October 2013, following the closure of Jalan Kayu along that stretch. The remaining section of the road connecting to the Seletar Aerospace Flyover, TPE and the Seletar Aerospace Park (via Seletar Aerospace Way) was opened on 16 May 2015. A proposed extension of Sengkang West Way between Jalan Kayu and Sengkang West Road was opened to traffic on 14 May 2017.

Subzones

Sengkang New Town is divided into seven subzones. [57]

Highlights

Sengkang's two main rivers, Sungei Punggol and Sungei Serangoon, bring life through the town with a network of green connectors along their banks, linking housing precincts to neighbourhood parks such as Sengkang Riverside Park, as well as the Sengkang Swimming Complex, Sengkang Hockey Stadium and Anchorvale Community Centre. These park connectors are linked to the Coney Island Park in Punggol New Town and the existing Punggol Park in the south, to better serve the recreational needs of the residents of Sengkang. Sengkang Sculpture Park, located in Compassvale, is an elongated green space created below the LRT viaducts.

Besides the pilotis located at the foot of all apartment blocks, point blocks are designed with a unique C-shape that provide greater privacy. Other common features include perforated balcony screens, and mesh or net-like parapets at the multi-storey carparks.

Sengkang is also the first satellite new town in Singapore to have its major public transport amenities built in tandem with the main public housing development. The main heavy rail tunnels through Sengkang and the elevated track infrastructure of the intra-town Sengkang LRT were developed as the existing public housing blocks were being built in the late 1990s. An integrated approach to transport, housing and commercial uses was also adopted in the planning of the town centre of Sengkang. Commuters alighting at Sengkang MRT/LRT Station have direct access to the Sengkang Bus Interchange, the shopping mall at Compass One and the residential development at Compass Heights in a contiguous building complex.

Transportation

City planners plan for public transport to eventually become the preferred mode of transport in the future. The government of Singapore ideally desires environmental towns, using public transport to reduce pollution caused by heavy road traffic. Sengkang is part of the Urban Redevelopment Authority's focus for realising this urban planning model. As Sengkang is relatively distant from the city centre at the Central Area, an efficient, high-volume and high-speed public transport system is also preferred to using road networks.

The Sengkang MRT/LRT Station and Sengkang Bus Interchange are fully integrated within a single building complex to allow seamless travel for the residents of Sengkang New Town across the different available modes of public transport.

Public transport

North East Line

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Wall tile mural at Compassvale

Sengkang Town is linked to the Central Area and MRT lines that are operated by SMRT (to the Circle MRT Line at Serangoon, Dhoby Ghaut and HarbourFront, to the North South Line at Dhoby Ghaut, to the East West Line at Outram Park and to the Downtown Line, operated by SBS Transit, at Little India and Chinatown) through the North East Line (NEL) at Sengkang MRT/LRT Station, located at . The NEL system is a fully automated heavy rail mass rapid transit system, and started operations on 20 June 2003. It is operated by SBS Transit.

Sengkang MRT/LRT Station

Sengkang Station, a MRT/LRT station, is integrated with Sengkang Bus Interchange are integrated into a building complex to allow seamless travel.

Buangkok MRT Station

Buangkok (NE15), the other station along NEL in Sengkang Town, serves the housing developments in Buangkok, at Compassvale, and the northern part of Hougang New Town. The station started operations on 15 January 2006.

Sengkang LRT Line

The intra-town Sengkang Light Rail Transit (LRT) system is a 10.7 km light rail line that serves to link residents to the town centre. It is a fully automated system, and its rolling stock is supplied by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The system is operated by SBS Transit. The Sengkang LRT line forms two loops, East Loop and West Loop, that skirt the perimeter of the new town. The LRT line has 14 stations and all are in operation. [62]

Sengkang Bus Interchange

Sengkang Bus Interchange was opened on 12 June 1998 as a terminal. At that time, developments around the area in Sengkang New Town were still actively in progress. The Sengkang Bus Interchange is located at the ground level of Compass Heights condominium, next to Compass One, which was opened on 18 January 2003, and is the second air-conditioned bus interchange in Singapore, after Toa Payoh Bus Interchange.

To improve ventilation at the former non-air conditioned alighting bays, the Land Transport Authority constructed a new air-conditioned passageway connecting to the existing air conditioned boarding areas in 2007.

Compassvale Bus Interchange

On 24 November 2014, LTA officially announced the expansion of Sengkang Bus Interchange to accommodate future bus services under the Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP) Scheme as the current interchange does not have enough parking spaces for more services. The expansion consists of 12 additional parking bays, boarding and alighting facilities, concourse area, staff lounge and a canteen. The expansion works were completed in the third quarter of 2016. [63] The extension, named Compassvale Bus Interchange , is located opposite Compass One along Sengkang Square and it officially opened on 12 March 2017 with currently two services, 374 [65] and 110. [66]

Road network

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Sengkang LRT

Sengkang is well connected to many parts of Singapore and getting into and out of the town is relatively easy. The Tampines Expressway (TPE) links Sengkang Town up with Singapore's expressway network. The Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway, which provides a direct route to the city area via TPE, was completed in late 2008. New roads were built to ease traffic congestion on Punggol Road. Extensions had been made to Sengkang West Avenue and ongoing for Sengkang West Way (3rd quarter 2015) to connect to the future Sengkang West Industrial Park.

The major roads that link Sengkang Town to Punggol New Town and TPE to the North, and Hougang New Town to the south are:

The major road that links Sengkang Town and Hougang New Town to the south is:

  • Sengkang Central

The major roads that link Sengkang Town to Seletar Aerospace Park / Seletar Camp and TPE to the North, and Seletar Hills Estate to the south are:

The arterial roads that run in the east-west direction within Sengkang New Town are:

  • Sengkang East Avenue and Sengkang West Avenue
  • Compassvale Drive and Anchorvale Drive
  • Sengkang East Way and Sengkang West Way
  • Compassvale Bow
  • Buangkok Drive (opened in 1999, to be extended westwards from the junction of Buangkok Green and Sengkang East Road to Yio Chu Kang Road in the near future)
  • Rivervale Drive and Fernvale Road

Education

There are 12 primary schools and six secondary schools in Sengkang New Town. Land provision has also been made for a junior college in the town to meet future educational demand in the North-East Region. [5]

Primary schools

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Sengkang LRT viaduct

Secondary schools

Places of worship

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Sengkang Bus Interchange

Sengkang Town Centre

There are four major building complexes within the Sengkang Town Centre.

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Sengkang East Way
Sengkang Town Centre. The building complexes are, from left to right, Sengkang Community Hub, Compass One Shopping Centre, Sengkang MRT/LRT Station, and Bus Interchange, and Compass Heights Condominium.

Other amenities

Politics

Rivervale, bounded by Punggol Road and Sengkang East Drive forms the Punggol East Single Member Constituency (SMC), which was carved out of Pasir Ris-Punggol Group Representation Constituency (GRC) in the 2011 General Elections. Punggol East SMC saw the only three-cornered fight in the 2011 elections, with Michael Palmer from the People's Action Party (PAP), Desmond Lim from the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA), and Lee Li Lian from the Workers' Party (WP) contesting. The SMC was retained by incumbent Michael Palmer, who was also the MP when the ward was part of Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC. In December 2012, Palmer quit the PAP over an extra-marital affair, thereby vacating his seat and paving the way for a by-election that was called by the Prime Minister in January 2013. SDA's Lim and WP's Lee returned to contest the by-election, and the PAP fielded a newcomer, Dr Koh Poh Koon, who had joined the party only three weeks earlier. They were joined by a fourth competing party, the Reform Party (RP), represented by its secretary-general Kenneth Jeyaretnam. Despite this being a four-way fight, WP's Lee emerged victorious with 54.52% of valid votes cast, shocking many on both sides of the political divide, who expected it to be a close fight. PAP's Koh came in second with 43.71% of the votes, with the RP and SDA candidates losing their electoral deposits with less than 2% of the votes combined. However, Lee was unseated in the 2015 elections to the PAP's candidate and Deputy Speaker Charles Chong when he garnered 51.76% of the valid votes cast, while Lee getting the remaining 48.24%.

Compassvale, including Buangkok, and a small portion south of Rivervale bounded by Sengkang East Avenue and Buangkok Drive come under the Pasir Ris-Punggol Group Representation Constituency. The current MP for Punggol South division of Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, which covers a part of Hougang, Buangkok and the southern part of Rivervale, is Gan Thiam Poh. He took over Teo Ser Luck, who is the current MP for Punggol Central division that covers Compassvale. Michael Lim, who was the MP for Punggol Central, retired from politics in 2006 and did not take part in the election that year. In the 2006 general election, Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC was expanded from five to six MPs as the population in Sengkang and Punggol new towns has grown since 2001. Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC had 178,393 voters, which exceeded the limit of 170,000 for a five-MP GRC.

The Anchorvale and Fernvale neighbourhoods of Sengkang Town form the Sengkang West SMC, formerly a division under the Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency until GE2011. Its Member of Parliament (MP) is Lam Pin Min. The two neighbourhoods were under the Jalan Kayu division, under Wee Siew Kim, before the general election in 2006. The current MP for the ward was Intan Azura Mokhtar.

A small portion of Fernvale bounded between Jalan Kayu and Fernvale Road, is part of the Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency under the Sengkang South Division. The area used to be under the Sengkang West SMC until it was carved out during GE2015. Its Member Of Parliament (MP) is Gan Thiam Poh.

Before 2001, the entire Sengkang Town and Punggol New Town were part of Cheng San Group Representation Constituency, which was hotly contested in 1997 general election.

See also