Punggol: History

11 August 2008

Kampong Punggol
Kampong Punggol located at Punggol Point is one of the oldest settlements in Singapore. The village was believed to be founded more than 200 years ago, way before Sir Stamford Raffles founded modern Singapore.

The original settlers were predominantly Malays. Fishing was the main economic activity in the village. The villagers also planted fruits and vegetables, which lead to the name Punggol.

The Chinese immigrants start to move out of Singapore Town and settle in Punggol from the mid 19th century onwards. These early Chinese immigrants engaged in plantation work, mainly rubber. Poultry farms and pig farms flourised when more Chinese immigrants populated Punggol. Trading on farm produces, fruits and vegetables were carried out in the market, which is located at Punggol Road 8th Mile.

In the 1960s, basic amenities like piped water, electricity, paved roads and drainage system were introduced in Punggol through government and self-help programmes. It was also at this time that television became popular and antennas could be seen installed on the zinc rooftops of many attap houses.

Punggol pig farms
Vast rural areas in Jurong, Choa Chu Kang and Lim Chu Kang become a big water catchment area after the construction of the Kranji Reservoir and Pandan Reservoir in the western part of Singapore. As such, strict water pollution controls are enforced around the new reservoirs. Pig wastes are considered a source of water pollution. Therefore the pig farms that are scattered across the catchment area are relocated to an alternative designated agricultural area at Punggol and Jalan Kayu.

The new Punggol agriculture area is exclusively used for intense pig farming. Squatters affected by the Punggol pig farms development were offered alternative accommodation in Punggol Estate (present day Hougang Neighbourhood 3).

First phase development of the pig farms at Punggol began in late 1974, which covers an area of 254 hectares. Engineering and land subdivision work and construction of crusher run roads with proper drainage system were constructed in 1975. By 1976, farming lots were released to the Primary Production Department for allocation to affected farmers in the Kranji Reservoir Catchment Area.

The pig farms were selected for redevelopment in the 1980s, with poultry and pig farms being gradually phrased out. Land vacated was then re-tendered out for non-pollutive agricultural activities like vegetable farming. The southern half of Punggol pig farms was developed into Sengkang New Town in 1994 whereas the northern half is reserved for the development of Punggol New Town.

Punggol Port
Punggol Port is situated near the mouth of Serangoon River. It was the docking point for fishing boats where fishermen gathered to sell their catch. Punggol Port also provides basic amenities to the kelong communities (floating fishing villages) in Serangoon Harbour.

Punggol 21
Plans with regards to the development of Punggol New Town were revealed by Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and Housing & Development Board (HDB) in October 1996. Different from previous towns, Punggol New Town was specially branded as "Punggol 21" during the planning stage. Waterfront residential are also promoted as the hallmark of Punggol 21. Punggol 21 is an ambitious project that boasts new planning concepts to cater for the needs of the new millennium.

Construction work for Punggol New Town began in 1998 with much anticipation from the public. The town plans to offer a good mix of housing types and a waterfront recreational belt. It is also plan with a comprehensive transport system that integrates MRT, LRT and bus.

Apartment blocks in Punggol are grouped into even smaller and distinctively designed precinct. The new feature of each precinct is the integration of multi-stories carpark and a common green (usually on the rooftop). Flats in different precincts will feature different layout designs and finishes, which provide more choices to homebuyers.

A new concept of "White Flat" was introduced in Punggol in September 1999. These units are designed without rooms or internal partitions, except for the provision of basic fittings, utilities, toilets and household shelters. White Flats provide more flexibility in room configuration and allows homeowners to design their flat layout according to individual needs.

Due to the ambiguous economic situation of the early 2000s, development pace of Punggol was slow down. Full-scale development was completely halt and replaced with Built-To-Order projects.

However in 2008, Punggol New Town was re-branded as Punggol 21+. Punggol 21+ encompasses several new features, which includes the Punggol Waterway, the Punggol Promenade, the development of Punggol Town Centre and the introduction of more housing varieties.

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