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     FrontPage Edition: Thu 17 January 2008

 Hotel Safeguarding Policy discontinued


URA and STB Announce Revised Approach To Evaluating Hotel Conversion Applications

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) today announced the discontinuance of the Hotel Safeguarding Policy introduced in 1997.
Under the Policy, hotels within designated areas were not allowed to convert to other uses. Hotels located outside these designated areas on the other hand could be converted to other uses such as residential or commercial, subject to planning approval.
Henceforth, applications to convert sites zoned for Hotel use to other uses will be considered under the national planning framework, taking into account the prevailing planning intentions as reflected in the Master Plan.
In addition, URA will continue to take into account the sufficiency of hotel developments when evaluating such applications. The change puts the land use regulatory framework for Hotels in line with other uses.
Under its Tourism 2015 plan, STB is targeting 17 million visitors and S$30 billion in tourism receipts by 2015. To meet these targets, the number of hotel rooms would need to be increased by 2015. The revised approach to evaluating hotel conversion applications will ensure that the location and number of hotel rooms safeguarded are in line with planning intentions and strategic planning objectives.
Revised approach to evaluating hotel conversions
As a general rule, hotels will not be allowed to be converted to other uses where:

a)       The hotels are located on sites zoned for hotel use in the Master Plan; and

b)       The hotels are located within sites zoned for other uses but where there is a specific planning or sales requirement for a minimum hotel quantum to be provided.
Similarly, non-hotel developments currently on sites zoned for hotel use will only be allowed to be redeveloped for hotel uses in line with the planning intention as reflected in the URA Master Plan.
Any exception will be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the land use and planning intention (such as the planning vision for the area and the appropriateness of having hotels within specific areas), and strategic planning objectives to ensure sufficient hotel development in Singapore to meet tourism needs and sustain economic growth.
Hotel uses located on sites that are zoned for other uses under the Master Plan, such as commercial or ‘white’ sites, without any requirement for a minimum hotel quantum, will be allowed to be converted to other uses based on the suitability of the alternative use.
Meeting Planning Objectives
To develop Singapore as a vibrant global city, many key districts such as Orchard Road, Singapore River and Marina Centre within the Central Area (CA) are planned with a mix of uses (e.g. office, retail, convention facilities, hotel and residential uses) to enhance their attractiveness as destinations for both locals and tourists alike.
The contribution of hotels to this mix of uses is vital to the vibrancy and character of these districts and critical to their continued success.
These key districts are also preferred locations for tourists and hotel accommodation. Hence, it is important to ensure a critical mass of hotel rooms within the key districts to meet the projected demand from visitors.

Source: Media Release 14 Jan 2008

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