Everything About Chencharu, A New Estate in Yishun With a New Hawker Centre

Big news, folks (and couples hoping to tie the knot soon)!

Minister for National Development Mr Desmond Lee just dropped some huge news at this year’s Committee of Supply debate on 5 March 2024: Yishun is getting a brand new housing area called Chencharu. 

Okay, okay, come back, I know what everyone says about Yishun, but just listen; there’s definitely more than meets the eye.

According to the Housing Development Board (HDB), there will be a whopping total of 10,000 new homes by 2040. Yes, you read that right – ten thousand, and at least 80% of these will be public housing.

So, if you’re thinking about living close to your parents for that daily dose of home-cooked meals and mutual care, Chencharu might just be your dream come true.

Let’s talk about the first Build-to-Order (BTO) project launching this month. About 1,270 units are up for grabs, ranging from two-room Flexi to five-room flats.

HDB is rolling out the rest of the projects in the coming years, so if you miss this round, don’t worry. Just stay tuned for more.

The History of Chencharu

Chencharu’s site spans 70 hectares and is bordered by Yishun Avenues 1 and 2 and Sembawang Road.

Back in the 1900s, the area was filled with plantations and farms. Then in 1976, it got a makeover for recreational and commercial activities as part of the Yishun New Town Project, hosting plant nurseries and the former Bottle Tree Park, which eventually turned into Orto leisure park. 

Image: hdb.gov.sg

Since the 2019 Master Plan by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, it has been set aside for housing, so it seems like Yishun always planned to turn it into a place for people to live.

According to HDB, Chencharu is not just about building homes; it is about creating a vibrant village that connects communities and celebrates heritage. It’s like Yishun’s way of saying, “Hey, let’s get nostalgic while being super modern.”

The First BTO Project

Launching by the end of June 2024, the first BTO project in Chencharu is set to make waves.

It has about 1,270 units, and the design takes a page out of history. Inspired by an almost 100-year-old colonial-era bungalow just next door at 50 Bah Soon Pah Road.

It is a two-storey bungalow which was originally a plantation house built in the early 1910s by Bukit Sembawang Rubber Company and has been preserved by the authorities for the new residential area.

The first few floors of the BTO project will have a black outline to show how high above ground the bungalow was. The red, black, and white exterior will mirror the bungalow’s colours, giving you a feel of history right at home.

The design of other precinct facilities will also pay homage to the bungalow. Think landscape shelters, drop-off porches, and precinct pavilions inspired by the bungalow’s features.

The drop-off porch, for instance, will sport alternating red/brown and white stripes, echoing the bungalow’s red roof and black and white stripes.

Imagine living in a place that embraces its history and social memories while being a stone’s throw from modern conveniences. You get the best of both worlds.

Chencharu boasts a mix of old and new amenities that cater to everyone from all walks of life.

There’s a neighbourhood park, HomeTeamNS Khatib, Khatib Central Neighborhood Centre, and Khatib MRT station nearby. Plus, plans for a new educational institution and nursing home are in the works. Talk about convenience for people of all ages!

The aforementioned bungalow itself will be adapted for community use within a new park.

This park is all about health and wellness. It will have playgrounds for the little ones, fitness corners with exercise equipment, open lawns, hard courts for the sporty individuals, and even a therapeutic garden for you to relax after a long day of work.

Image: hdb.gov.sg

You will also find a heritage trail with gardens and storyboards to learn about the area’s history. Access to this green space will be easy via various connections from upcoming BTO projects. These features aim to promote social connectedness, active lifestyles, and mental wellness.

“These features are designed to help residents connect with each other, stay active, and support mental well-being,” HDB stated.

Other Exciting Amenities

At the heart of Chencharu, there’s going to be a community avenue connecting the new park to the existing neighbourhood park near Khatib MRT.

This main road running from east to west will have a new bus interchange, a hawker centre, and plenty of shops. It’s meant to be a bustling spot where people can hang out and socialise – basically, the new go-to place for everyone in Yishun.

Image: hdb.gov.sg

Two well-loved tenants in Lorong Chencharu, who have to move out to make room for the new developments, but rest assured as they will be relocated to somewhere not that far off!

The Ground-up Initiative, a non-profit focused on sustainability and community building, along with the Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum, will be relocated to a site near HomeTeamNS Khatib.

This ensures that existing community activities in these unique recreational spaces continue, while also creating opportunities for new residents to forge strong social bonds, hence “enhancing the identity of Chencharu as a vibrant contemporary kampung,” said HDB.

Green Commute and Healthy Living

Getting around Chencharu will be super easy, a walk in a park I would say.

There is going to be a new road called Chencharu Link running north to south through the middle of the area, with homes and amenities on either side.

This 400-metre stretch will be for buses only, making bus trips smoother and faster and perhaps also safer.

Image: hdb.gov.sg

With the new bus interchange and existing options like Khatib MRT station and bus services along Yishun Avenue 2 and Sembawang Road, residents will have plenty of convenient public transport choices.

But that’s not all – Chencharu will even feature walking and cycling paths lined with rustic kampung-themed streetscapes like Island Lychee and Hopea trees. These paths will provide a pleasant experience for those exploring Chencharu and the wider Yishun town.

They will also connect to the cycling network beyond Yishun, giving cyclists easy access to neighbouring towns like Sembawang, recreation spaces such as Khatib Bongsu and Lower Seletar Reservoir, and the upcoming North-South Corridor.

So, if you’re into saving the Earth and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, Chencharu has got you covered.

Smart and Sustainable Living

Chencharu aims to be a smart and sustainable estate in line with Singapore’s vision to be a green city. 

To avoid too much sunlight, catch the breeze and keep everything cooler on the inside, HDB said that the homes in Chencharu are built facing the north-south direction.

Studies are also being done on various factors such as on wind, temperature, sunlight, and shadows to make the area greener and more comfortable to live in.

HDB will implement smart and sustainable initiatives like the Smart Lighting System which lets HDB and town councils keep an eye on the lights in common areas in real-time, so there’s no need for someone to manually check them. 

Plus, where it makes sense, they will utilise the UrbanWater Harvesting System, which as the name suggests, adds rainwater harvesting systems to make the most out of rainy days.

Homes will also come with provisions to facilitate the adoption of smart home solutions. 

Going Forward

Chencharu is not the only exciting development in the northern region of Singapore. Residents can still look forward to new housing areas in Sembawang and Woodlands, though specific details have yet to be revealed.

Experts believe that the brand-spanking Chencharu estate will breathe new life into the Khatib neighbourhood, as nearly 84% of the current flats along Yishun Ring Road were built before 2000.

A high demand will also be expected, particularly from young or new families, as there are a plethora of primary schools around the area.

In the three BTO projects in Yishun launched in November 2022, over 1,400 applicants competed for 917 four-room flats, and another 1,400 applicants vied for 795 five-room units.

In short, Chencharu is set to shake things up in Yishun with 10,000 new homes by 2040. With the first BTO project kicking off this month, potential tenants can select from a variety of units to suit different needs, and enjoy the multiple amenities to their hearts’ content!

So, if you and your family are looking for a place that combines modern living with a touch of history and a whole lot of community spirit, (and you’re willing to let go of the many, many Yishun negative stereotypes to embrace a new perspective), Chencharu might just be the place for you!