Providing land to house places of worship is an essential part of urban planning. New HDB precincts are built with land set aside for places of worship. This has enabled temples, mosques and churches to be situated near housing areas so that they are accessible to worshippers.
With rising demand for worship spaces, we have released sites under the Government Land Sales programme. We have also allowed some places of worship to redevelop and intensify, if the site context allows, and allowed some limited and non-exclusive use of commercial and industrial premises for religious worship.
But places of worship come in different sizes. There are many small temples and churches which find the Government Land Sales sites too big for their needs, and hence unaffordable. Some of the church and temple leaders have asked us for alternative solutions. Helpfully, they indicated that they were prepared to co-share facilities and to go high-rise.
After extensive consultations with the religious organisations, we are now exploring a new concept – a Multi-User Place of Worship Facility that co-locates multiple places of worship of the same religion in a multi-storey development. Under this arrangement, spaces can be leased or rented by small religious groups which will share common facilities like car parks, prayer halls and classrooms.
To move the concept forward, MND is calling a Request for Information (RFI) to seek ideas on how this concept might work for religious organisations interested in developing such a facility. The RFI will be open to Chinese temples and churches, as they have indicated the need for such a development. We look forward to receiving practical proposals from them, so that we can realise this new idea.
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