Tutong housing gap to hit 10k

National 2 minutes, 55 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

A housing shortfall of approximately 10,000 units has been predicted for Tutong over the next 20 years as the population of the district is forecasted to more than double to 97,000 within the same period.

Anticipated housing requirements over the next 20 years is 14,443 units, but under current development plans, only an additional 1,400 units will be supplied as add-ons to previously suspended housing developments in Keriam and Telisai.

This was revealed during a focus group with government and private sector agencies yesterday for the Tutong District Plan, which is under the jurisdiction of the Town and Country Planning Department (TCP). Several officials met at the Tutong Community Hall to discuss the Sectoral Reports prepared by the Integrated Environmental Consultants (IEC) Sdn Bhd, the consultants hired to draw up the Tutong Development Plan.

Some of the problems identified to have contributed to the shortfall have to do with demand, location, housing ownership, land required and occupancy rate.

Tutong District already has 3,025 units of planned housing in Bukit Beruang and Serambangun residential projects.

Under the Tutong District Plan, an additional 7,500 units of infill housing has been suggested for Kg Bukit Udal, Kg Lamunin and Telisai.

Five new growth centres are also proposed namely, 3,000 units of high-rise apartments in Tutong Town, 1,000 units of large lots in Kiudang, with another 3,000 in Lamunin and 500 in Kg Bukit Ukong.

A suburban centre, a one-stop health clinic and government offices are also proposed for Bukit Beruang, in close proxi-mity with the existing housing scheme.

Previous reports The Brunei Times suggested that the Ministry of Development was also eyeing Tutong locations for National Housing Schemes after 2012 due to increasing land shortages in the Brunei-Muara district.

The Sectoral Reports presented yesterday to officials discussed strategies to attract more residents to Tutong District, such as bestowing large land lots for housing, providing well-developed suburban centres to service the needs of residents, providing recreational centres with shopping malls and parks, and a significantly improved road network to cut travel time from Tutong to Bandar Seri Begawan.

A quarter of Tutong residents surveyed in 2009 stated that road access and road conditions in the district were poor.

Warwick Newall, director of IEC, said Tutong is disadvantaged compared to other districts because it "lacks a mega-project,like Sungai Liang Industrial Park in Kuala Belait and the Pulau Muara Besar project in Brunei-Muara, and therefore lacks a key driver when competing with these districts", he said in a recent interview.

Contributions from the district to the national economy are also declining, said Newall.

The proposed developments under the Tutong District Plan are hoped to encourage a socio-economic boom in the district by attracting investment while enhancing the living standard of the residents.

"Preparation of the plan is in line with our national master plan and supports the national (long-term plan) Vision 2035," said Hong Kok Seng, Commissioner of the Town and Country Planning Department.

Some of the key issues facing housing in Tutong District is poor connectivity from inland areas to Tutong Town and Bandar, access to centres of employment, housing delivery systems, land tenure and availability and development costs.

Half the jobs of Tutong residents are outside of the district and to this, Newall said: "Tutong could potentially serve as a suburb of Bandar Seri Begawan. We are not going to completely redress and create instant employment in Tutong, but what we are going to see is continuous drift into BSB and provisions could be made for that to allow it to happen."

The Brunei Times