Located right on the eastern tip of Singapore’s West Region, Clementi describes both the planning area, and the residential town. Of the 3.66 square miles that makes up the area, 0.78 square miles was classed as residential in 2015, with 91,630 people calling it home. Of those almost 70% were Chinese. With regards to its neighbouring towns and areas, Clementi has Bukit Batok, Bukit Timah, Queenstown and Jurong East on its borders to the north, northeast, east and west respectively.
Like many places on the island its name comes from a road that ran through the area (and still does today) – Clementi Road. If things had been different, it could have been called something else entirely, as the road was originally called Reformatory Road. Then, in a meeting by the Singapore Rural Board, Clementi Road was decided upon, after finally rejecting the former frontrunner of Clifford Road. The name Clementi comes from either Sir Cecil Clementi Smith, the first British High Commissioner of the Straits Settlements, or Sir Cecil Clementi who was responsible for the development of Kallang Airport.
Up until major developments took place in the area in 1975, the only residential places of note in Clementi were the Sussex Estate – a development built in the 1950’s to house British non-com officers and their families, and Colombo Camp. This was a military enclave where the Singapore Guard Regiment were stationed until they disbanded in the early 1970’s. Whereas the camp was demolished and became the site of present day Clementi New Town, the Sussex Estate – named after the English County – was kept intact before being demolished itself in 1997.
When most people think of Clementi, it is Clementi New Town that they usually think of, and indeed, it is there that most of the area’s residents live, many in landed properties which are a feature of the town. It is divided into 4 constituencies, and 7 neighbourhoods labelled N1 to N7, each being mostly self-sufficient.
Clementi was unusual in that there were no shopping malls or centres in the early days of its development. It did have a choice of retail establishments, as well as wet markets and hawker stalls, but it wasn’t until part of Clementi MRT Station was redeveloped in 2008 to make way for CityVibe that the region had a mall to call its own. 321 Clementi was built and opened its doors in 2015, while further afield West Coast Plaza is convenient for those living along West Coast Road an area home to several HDB estates as well as high end Singapore condos.
When it comes to the MRT, Clementi New Town is on the East West Line, courtesy of Clementi MRT Station. That is also where the Bus Interchange is to be found. The AYE dissects Clementi, while the PIE runs along its northern border and the West Coast Highway does the same in the south.
One landmark that draws people into Clementi from all over the island, especially those with a taste for history is the bridge spanning the Sungei Ulu Pandan. The steel truss construction was part of the railway line that ran from Jurong to Malaysia, before being closed down in the early 1990’s. Though the tracks are gone, the bridge very much remains.
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