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The Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) calls for greater land-use flexibility by allowing complementary activities to be located near each other– value chains and industries can be integrated and synergies enabled among developments in a precinct.
Given the blurring line between services and manufacturing, the CFE also proposed that flexibility of land use be allowed in industrial areas as this will open the way for businesses of different sectors and functions to co-locate, find synergies and catalyse innovation.
The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is working with state industrial landlord JTC and the Economic Development Board (EDB) under Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Industry players say Singapore may need to create more zoning categories or expand existing definitions of use for industrial space.
Another planning guideline – that of the “60-40 rule”, which requires at least 60 per cent of gross space in a building or strata unit to be used for industrial activities, with at most 40 per cent left for ancillary purposes – is another restrictive policy that needs review.
The government has, in the past, rolled out “white” sites and business park white zones in the Master Plan to offer developers some autonomy in deciding the most appropriate mix of uses for each site. However, it has remained prescriptive in listing permissible uses and planning specifications for these sites.
The US practises what is called “performance zoning”, under which land development and use are circumscribed by performance standards; for example, these standards can limit the intensity of development by stipulating the maximum level of noise or strain on the transportation system.
By the first quarter of 2018, all 10,700 industrial units and 540 land leases under the Housing & Development Board (HDB) will be consolidated under JTC, a single agency offering one-stop access to a full range of Singapore’s public-sector industrial facilities.
The properties will be transferred from HDB’s portfolio to JTC’s at net book value.
Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang said this will better support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in their business growth.
The government will be able to undertake more comprehensive master-planning of industrial estates across Singapore; the move will also facilitate more efficient clustering of complementary activities and integration of activities along the value chain.
JTC wants to bring HDB tenants under its fold to offer them the same support that JTC tenants under the parentage of the Ministry of Trade and Industry enjoy, and to enhance their productivity and transform them into more competitive enterprises. (HDB falls under the Ministry of National Development.
One common problem HDB industrial tenants face lies in finding adjacent space into which to expand; many end up taking space in multiple venues, sometimes across the island. What JTC can offer SMEs is contiguous large floor plates in its own facilities.
It can also help SMEs plan ahead, by charting their growth trajectories and anticipating their future needs. JTC can provide, not just bigger spaces, but also land for expansion.
Guoxin Manufacturing is one example of an HDB tenant that is moving into a 1,180 sq m space at JTC Space @ Tampines North; this is twice the amount of space it used to occupy over five different units in Tuas and Ubi.
All HDB tenants and lessees affected by the consolidation will continue to be served by the same team of 160 HDB officers, who will be transferred to JTC. JTC also gave the assurance that the contracted terms and conditions of their tenancies and leases with HDB will remain.