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I Took A Trip To Tengah, The Newest HDB Town, To Find Out What Amenities Are Available For The First Batch Of Residents

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A new home symbolises fresh beginnings and a significant milestone, especially for first-time home owners. While most may feel excited (and even a sense of relief of receiving their keys after 1-2 years of construction delays caused by COVID-19), it was mixed feelings for the first batch of residents in Tengah. They are among the first 3,573 build-to-order (BTO) units that were launched in Tengah’s Plantation District in 2018/19.

The new town, located in the western region and bounded by the neighbouring towns of Bukit Batok, Choa Chu Kang, and Jurong East, had many of its early residents recently lamenting over the lack of amenities and transportation links, among other things.

To better understand their plight, I took a trip to Tengah to find out what it is like to live in the newest HDB town as a first mover.

Tengah Town A New Model For Smart And Sustainable Living

But first, if you aren’t aware, Tengah, dubbed the “Forest Town,” was first unveiled in 2016 as the newest and 24th HDB town. It consists of five housing districts: Plantation District, Garden District, Park District, Brickland District, and Forest Hill District.

The development of Tengah Town is designed to not only integrate with the surrounding greenery and biodiversity but also incorporate information and communication technology to enable smart living, such as a centralised cooling system and smart lighting.


When completed, the town is projected to provide 42,000 new homes, comprising 30,000 public housing units and 12,000 private housing units.

Read Also: Neighbourhood Estate Guide: Smart Forest Living In Tengah – Singapore’s First Car-Free HDB Town Centre

Long Waiting Time And Limited Public Transportation Options To Access Tengah

There are two bus services: 870, from Jurong Town Hall Interchange, and 992, from Bukit Batok Interchange, to reach the Tengah Plantation District, where residents have recently moved in.

The bus service 992 from Bukit Batok Interchange, which is the nearest to the estate, has an interval period of around 30 minutes during non-peak hours and around 15 minutes during peak hours. The journey from Bukit Batok interchange to Blk 111 Plantation Crescent, where most commuters got off, takes around 20 minutes.

Bukit Batok Bus Interchange

Bus Stop at 111 Plantation Crescent – Serves residents at Plantation Crescent and Plantation Grange

Another point of interest that residents may use the bus service to get around is the Le Quest Shopping Mall. It is the nearest neighbourhood shopping mall, which hosts fast food chains such as MacDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, and the supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice, among other services. It takes around 10 minutes of travel to and fro via the bus service 992, which is a loop service.

Le Quest – Nearest neighbourhood mall

It’s also worth noting that only bus service 870 travels to Dulwich College or Princess Elizabeth Primary School, which are between 2 and 3 bus stops from Blk 111 Plantation Crescent.

However, residents may look forward to having rail connectivity via the Jurong Regional Line (JRL) by 2027/2028, as there will be four MRT stations: JS3, JS4, JE1, and JE2 that will serve most residents in the town within walking distance.

MRT railway tracks are under construction

Sparsely Stocked Vending Machines And Mobile Grocery Truck Are The Only Convenient Options

Residents at Plantation Crescent and Plantation Grange who want quick and convenient access to snacks or other food options can head to the void deck of Blk 111A Plantation Crescent, where 5 vending machines are placed.  These machines, which accept both cash and digital payments, sell cut fruits, snacks, including cup noodles, drinks, and even a hot food vending machine that sells Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak.

Vending machines at void deck of Blk 111A Plantation Crescent

However, during my visit on 24 January 2024, these vending machines were not well stocked, as was the hot food machine, which had no meals to serve.

In an effort to cater to the residents’ grocery needs and convenience, a NTUC mobile grocery truck operates on certain days of the week from 3pm to 8pm in the following two locations:

This might be a temporary issue, as residents will eventually be able to access retail and food outlets when the Neighbourhood Centre at Blk 111 Plantation Crescent is in operation. Alternatively, residents may also head down to Le Quest or Blk 440 Bukit Batok West Avenue 8 for their meals, grocery shopping, and access to other amenities.

Blk 111 Plantation Crescent – Neighbourhood Centre

Read Also: HDB Rental Guide For 2H2023: Which Are The Most Affordable (And Most Expensive) HDB Estates In Singapore

No Access To Common Facilities like Fitness Corners, Sky Terrace, Or Linkbridge To Multi-Storey Carpark

Based on my guesstimate, less than 30% of residents may have moved in. It may take more time for the rest of the residents to move in, as the general renovation activity seemed a little muted for a new estate.

Therefore, it is unsurprising that HDB has not opened access to common facilities like the fitness corners or playgrounds, though they seemed to have been completed.

Fitness Corner is barricaded from use.

Fitness Corner looks completed.

Playground barricaded from use

Similarly, residents’ access to the sky terrace park and linkbridge to the multi-storey carpark is still barricaded.

Access to sky terrace barricaded from use

These are not isolated issues that only early residents of Tengah have to go through. Typically, early residents of any new BTO estate would have to wait for the occupancy rate in a development to increase before these facilities are opened for use.

Read Also: [BTO Guide] Eligibility Criteria For Buying A HDB In Singapore

Common Green Spaces And Landscaped Decks Still Have Ponding Issues

Though the temporary occupation period (TOP) may have been granted to the estate, certain small works in the common areas are still ongoing. One such activity is the landscaping work in the common green spaces, which spots some soiled areas and also signs of ponding.

This may raise concerns about mosquito breeding among early residents, but it will be resolved over time as the greenery grows.

Noise And Dust Issues Will Be Ongoing For A Few More Years Due To Construction Of Nearby Projects

Unlike an individual project that may take a few months to settle down as residents move in to their units, residents at Tengah may experience noise and dust issues for a more prolonged period as the whole town gets developed over time, which may take a further 10 to 15 years.

For instance, there are empty parcels of land opposite Tengah Plantation and Tengah Grange where residents would be able to observe firsthand the construction progress of Plantation Edge I & II, which are in their initial stages of construction.

Construction site of Plantation Edge I & II

Opposite Plantation Crescent and Plantation Grange

This would very much be a similar scene across the whole Tengah town as more areas, particularly the inner districts, get developed over the next 10 to 15 years.

Other developments under construction along Plantation Crescent

Initial BTO HDB Flats Were Priced Low To Compensate For The Town’s Developing Status

While early residents may complain over the current lack of amenities, it’s important to note that when these flats were launched in 2018–2019, they were classified as having non-mature town status. This means that the BTO flats were not only priced more attractively than other new developments in mature towns but also offered applicants a higher chance of securing a new flat.

Moreover, as Tengah was intended to be developed from the outer region to the town’s centre, it was expected that the initial housing projects would be priced more attractively as the newer locations became more sought-after.

For instance, the table below shows the launch prices of the initial BTO projects released in 2018–2019 and the recent project launches in 2023:

Estate Launched date 3-room 4-room  5-room
Plantation Grove November 2018 193,000 – 243,000 290,000 – 355,000 397,000 – 480,000
Plantation Acres / Garden Vale @ Tengah May 2019 192,000 – 246,000 309,000 – 357,000 415,000 – 480,000
Plantation Verge May 2023 238,000 – 288,000 350,000 – 440,000 454,000 – 575,000
Parc Meadow May 2023 253,000 – 309,000 363,000 – 467,000 489,000 – 607,000
Plantation Edge I & II October 2023 232,000 – 279,000 353,000 – 418,000 460,000 – 568,000

 

Over the past 4 to 5 years, the starting prices of the BTO flats for the 3-room, 4-room, and 5-room units have increased by $30,000, $50,000, and $60,000, respectively. This shows the clear price advantage that the first-movers have had over subsequent residents at Tengah. The price advantage could further widen as the town gets more developed, which would attract more homebuyers to make Tengah their home.

Nevertheless, the current residents at the Tengah Plantation District will soon get to enjoy (probably as early as 2H2024) more communal facilities such as the Neighbourhood Centre, a community club, and a shopping street along Plantation Farmway. Therefore, these current inconveniences might be short-lived as more neighbouring projects in Tengah are completed.



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