Formerly the site of the Royal Air Force Military airfield, Seletar which is bounded by Sengkang and Punggol to the south and east respectively while Yishun and Simpang sits to the west, was as many locations in Singapore, a rubber plantation estate. Owned by the Singapore United Rubber Plantations, 600 acres were purchased by the Straits Settlement Government and given to the British Royal Air Force to set up the aforementioned airfield.
With Johor to the north, Seletar’s airfield was the first Royal Air Force (RAF) base outside of India which also served as a civilian airport until Kallang Airport was opened to the public in 1937. As a result of its colonial history, the area is home to several colonial bungalows once habited by personnel of the RAF. 378 bungalows used to be in existence, of which, 174 are up for demolishing while the remainder are to be preserved and converted into commercial and residential use.
Currently, Seletar is home to the new SGD60 million Seletar Aerospace Park spanning 140 hectares. It was built for the purpose of housing industries involved in aircraft maintenance. In the near future, the Seletar Masterplan as drawn by the Singapore government has measures to convert Seletar into a regional centre alongside Jurong East, Woodlands and Tampines.
What’s in Seletar?
Aside from the SGD60 million Seletar Aerospace Park which began operations in 2018, the area is also home to the Seletar Airport; a former civilian airport but is now a general aviation airport for privately charted planes as well as other private aircraft operations.
Sharing a border with its southern neighbor Sengkang, Seletar benefits from upcoming developments in the area, in particular, the currently developing Sengkang West Industrial Park. Though still in the early stages, the Industrial Park is expected to introduce more job opportunities for Sengkang residents and therefore, residents in Seletar. Landed property is more common in Seletar at the moment.
Many are the bungalows once belonging to RAF personnel, along Seletar Aerospace Way and within a short drive to the Aerospace Park where among the companies are also restaurants and eateries. Relatively close by (an 8-min bus ride via service 103) is the popular Jalan Kayu stretch of eateries.
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Seletar in the next 10-years
The Aerospace Park will be home to a 700,000 passenger capacity civilian terminal, roughly 26 times larger than the existing terminal which only caters to private flights. This new airport is expected to free up space for Changi Airport and ease its stress of accommodating millions of passengers yearly.
Jalan Kayu according to the 2013 MasterPlan will be redeveloped into the Seletar Aerospace Park as well. Currently, the road is a narrow, accident-prone one with limited room for enhancements. The redevelopment is expected to alleviate all these salient issues while ensuring that people who drive there to eat have safe and convenient places to park without blocking the road.
Future residential developments, like 2017’s Parc Botannia at Fernvale, as well as new BTO flats in the area serve to create additional housing options for people working in the Aerospace Park. As Seletar becomes more industrial, the surrounding areas will receive a boost in population which would inevitably, affect property prices.
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As an upcoming regional centre, Seletar’s development has been slow but steady. You won’t get a multitude of new properties popping up all over the place. Instead, the surrounding areas get developed while the USP of Seletar, its Aerospace Park, is improved and expanded until it’s capable of maintaining the job needs of a large population.
In time, more enhancements will come to the area, including the upgraded Jalan Kayu and passenger terminal.
Already, this has borne fruit as recently (21st April 2019), Malaysian airline, Firefly, had its virgin landing at Seletar Airport. This marked a return of the carrier to Singapore in five months since having its services to Singapore suspended.