Very much like the place itself, Newton’s history has been steady, solid and perhaps if you were being unkind, unspectacular.
Named after Alfred Howard Vincent Newton (Howard to his friends), it’s in District 11. Along with Tanglin and Novena, it serves as a buffer between the excesses of Orchard and the upper-class enclave of Bukit Timah.
Over the last century, it has changed from an area dominated by nutmeg plantations and cemeteries, to a largely residential estate, home to mainly expats and affluent locals. When most people think of Newton they think of Newton Circus.
Originally a station on the island’s now defunct railway line, it is now one of the biggest – and most notorious – road junctions.
Newton MRT on the North South Line opened in December 1987, while the Downtown Line reached the station in December of 2015.
What’s in it?
Newton Circus may not be the most attractive or exciting of features, but it’s the one thing that brings most people to (or through) Newton. It is where no fewer than eight roads converge.
Residents however, would be quick to say there is a lot more to the area than an over-sized roundabout, and they would be absolutely correct.
Newton Food Centre is one of the best in Singapore, not just in the quality and variety of its food, but in its airy, green and floral setting. The Istana is the area’s other most famous fixture. The 106-acre estate is home to the president’s office, as well as being her official residence.
One advantage the area has, is that due to a combination of its small size, and proximity to some of the most sought after destinations on the island, those that call it home don’t have far to travel to find anything they need.
Chances are, it’ll only be a stop or two on the MRT or a short taxi ride away.
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Newton in the next 10 years
Newton has largely escaped the Master Planners’ attentions which in this instance is no bad thing. The phrase if it’s not broke don’t fix it is one that could be applied to more areas at times.
That said, more than 230 hectares of land in the Central Area (in which Newton sits) has been set aside to ensure that in years to come every development in the area will be within a 10 minutes’ walk to either a park, a promenade or a public space.
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Though it often lies in the shadow of its more illustrious neighbours, Newton ticks most boxes when it comes to providing a neighbourhood suited to bringing up a family.
It is compact, has plenty of green spaces and has good access to schools and medical facilities. The final piece of the jigsaw came in late 2015 with the arrival of the Downtown Line.
Though not directly connected underground to the North South Line, it opens up many other areas of the island to residents.