SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): The land where the Singapore Turf Club (STC) in Kranji sits will be returned to the Government by March 2027, making way for housing and other developments in the area.
These include previously announced plans to redevelop the area around Woodlands Checkpoint, enhance Woodlands Town under the Remaking Our Heartland programme, and transform the Lim Chu Kang area into a high-tech agri-food cluster.
The closure also means the end of over 180 years of horse racing in Singapore, which has seen dwindling spectatorship over the years.
“This was not an easy decision but necessary... There have been increasing needs and demands for land, and the Government regularly reviews our land use plans, because we want to ensure that resources are optimised to meet Singaporeans’ needs,” said Second Minister for Finance and National Development Indranee Rajah at a press conference held at the Ministry of Communications and Information on Monday (June 5).
She added: “We plan not just for this generation, but for the next.”
The area, covering around 120ha of land, is the size of about 200 football fields and is larger than the whole of Gardens by the Bay, which spans 101 ha.
STC, which employs about 350 people, will run its last race, the 100th Grand Singapore Gold Cup, on Oct, 5, 2024, before it shuts its facility by March 2027.
The Ministry of Finance and Ministry of National Development (MND) said in a joint statement on Monday: “The Government continually reviews its land-use plans to meet today’s needs while ensuring there is sufficient land for future generations. Local horse racing has also experienced declining spectatorship over the years.”
The statement added that the decision to redevelop the Singapore Racecourse site will allow for the land and its surroundings to be holistically master-planned to better meet future land-use needs.
Apart from housing, MND is also studying other potential uses, including leisure and recreation.
It will also take into consideration the needs and requirements of various equestrian entities that intend to continue operating in Singapore, including compatibility with other land uses being considered for the area.
STC staff will be retrenched in phases starting 16 months from now, in October 2024, said both ministries in the statement.
They will receive retrenchment packages, as well as transition support including counselling, job placement assistance, personal career guidance and skills training courses.
Racehorse trainers and owners, who are not STC staff, will receive support for horse maintenance and exportation.
Horse exportation will begin following the last race on Oct 5, 2024, and be completed by March 2026.
There are currently about 700 racehorses at the club and 38 livery horses, which are owned as pets. STC will continue to honour existing contractual obligations with its tenants and livery horse owners.
The Government will also work with the Tote Board, STC and other stakeholders to commemorate the heritage of the club and local horse racing.