Written reply by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, to Parliamentary Question on Criteria for Setting up Hawker Centres and Wet Markets, on 4 September 2020
Mr Don Wee: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment what are the criteria, such as the number of dwelling units, to set up a hawker centre and wet market within a constituency.
Written Reply by Minister Grace Fu:
1 In 2011, the Government announced its intention to restart building hawker centres after a 26-year hiatus, focusing on new estates or existing ones that are relatively under-served in terms of a diversity of affordable dining options. This ensures Singaporeans will continue to have access to affordable food across Singapore. We announced in 2011 and 2015 that we would build twenty new hawker centres in total. Seven are already in operation while another ten are currently in the design development or construction stages and are expected to be completed by 2027. For the remaining three hawker centres, one has earlier been announced to be in Choa Chu Kang Town Centre while the locations of the remaining two will be announced in due course.
2 As we plan for the long term, the National Environment Agency (NEA) assesses the need for new hawker centres to serve towns with larger geographical areas and populations instead of individual constituencies. NEA works closely with planning agencies such as URA and HDB to identify appropriate locations for new hawker centres based on criteria such as residential catchment and availability of affordable and comparable F&B options in the vicinity. For residents’ convenience and to ensure a viable level of business for hawkers, sites with good accessibility and connectivity are also preferred, such as those co-located with other amenities or transport nodes.
3 New hawker centres will generally not come with a market section selling fresh produce given the availability of alternative options such as HDB market produce shops and supermarkets. From our experience, market sections in hawker centres require sufficient scale to succeed, and must attract customers from a broader regional level. Those which are unable to get this catchment generally do not fare well.