Circular No : URA/PB/2013/02-DCG
Date : 26 Mar 2013

Fax: 6227 4792




Who should know
Building owners, developers and architects


Effective date
27 March 2013



  1. Recently, URA has received an increasing number of commercial and mixed-use development proposals that include a large number of small retail units (ranging 9 - 25sqm in size) with narrow corridors (less than 1.5m wide). In many of these cases, the proposed number of retail units is more than 10 times the existing number of units in the original development. This raises concerns about the impact of such developments on the surrounding areas in terms of car parking and traffic congestion. It is also questionable if such developments with predominantly small retail units can adequately meet the needs of shoppers in terms of offering a wider variety of products and services, as well as a good shopping experience for the public.

    Small retail units
  2. URA recognises that small retail units can cater to certain types of trades (e.g. stationery shops, florists, money changers and mobile phone accessories shops). However, we are also mindful that there is a wide range of retail uses that have different space needs. There is a need to ensure a good range of retail units of different sizes to meet genuine retailers’ space needs across the spectrum of uses and to serve the public better.
  3. A development that comprises predominantly or solely small retail units would limit the tenants to only certain types of retailers, thus limiting the variety of product and service offerings to the public. In addition, injecting a large number of small retail units could cause traffic and car parking problems, especially if there is a redevelopment located in the midst of or near to residential areas.

    Narrow corridor widths
  4. Besides the trend of many small retail units, we also observed that the corridors of the developments are getting narrower with some below 1.5m in width. Such narrow corridors are not likely to be able to handle the high pedestrian flows during the peak periods (e.g. during meal times when there could be queues within the corridor space outside restaurants), hence obstructing shoppers’ movements, especially those with strollers and wheelchairs. This creates a congested environment and compromises the overall shopping experience.
  5. In consultation with key industry players like Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (REDAS) and Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA), URA has worked out a set of guidelines for retail unit size and corridor width to address the above concerns and promote quality shopping developments.

Details of Guidelines

  1. The new guidelines are intended to safeguard a good mix of retail unit sizes and reasonable shoppers’ amenity, while giving the developers and architects flexibility in planning and designing their retail spaces. The guidelines are as follows:

    i. The average retail unit size should not be less than 50sqm as determined below:

      Total nett1 retail floor area (sqm)

    Number of retail units2

    ii. Retail developments should provide minimum corridor widths as summarised below:
    Corridor Type3 Min Width Requirement
    Single Loaded 2.0m – 2.4m
    Double Loaded 2.4m – 3.0m
      Main arterial corridors are generally expected to have widths of at least 2.4m and 3.0m for single-loaded and double-loaded corridors respectively. This is to ensure there is sufficient space for the movement of pedestrians, stroller and wheelchair users, as well as window shoppers based on universal design4 principles. Corridor widths proposed at the lower bound of the range may be considered only in areas where pedestrian flow is not expected to be high.
  2. The guidelines on retail unit size and corridor width as outlined above will apply to the retail component of all new erection proposals for full commercial, as well as mixed use developments.
  3. The guidelines will also apply to Additions & Alterations proposals, for the extent of area under the Additions & Alterations works as long as the works involve an increase of more than 10% of the existing units and an increase of more than 10 units.
  4. Where necessary, URA may also work with developers and architects to further refine their proposals beyond simply complying with the guidelines, taking into account the site context, specific planning intention for an area and the type of services needed in an area, when assessing proposals.


  1. The guidelines will take effect from 27 Mar 2013 for all relevant applications. Only formal development applications (excluding Outline Applications) submitted prior to 27 Mar 2013 which have already been granted Provisional Permission or which will result in a Provisional Permission will not be subject to the new retail guidelines5.
  2. I would appreciate it if you could convey the contents of this circular to the relevant members of your organisation. If you or your members have any queries concerning this circular, please do not hesitate to call our Development Control Group (DCG) Enquiry Line at Tel: 6223 4811 or e-mail us at We will be pleased to answer queries on this subject and any other development control matters. For your information, our past circulars to the professional institutes are available from our website

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1 Nett retail floor area refers to rentable or saleable retail floor area, excluding common areas.

2 Restaurants and cafes are considered retail units. For retail uses such as cinema, food court, amusement centre, the entire floor area of the retail use is counted as 1 retail unit.

3 Single-loaded corridors refer to corridors which serve only a row of retail units on one side while Double-loaded corridors refer to corridors which serve retail units on both sides.

4 Universal design seeks to create an environment addressing the needs for all age groups and people of different abilities including temporary disability.

5 Development applications submitted prior to 27 Mar 2013 resulting in an Advice or Refusal of Written Permission (RWP) will be evaluated based on the new retail guidelines upon resubmission after the Advice or RWP.

Source from
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Lester Chen 陈楷融
Senior Division Director (Realtor since 2005)
CEA Licence No.:
L3010738A / R006736B
+(65) 9101 7777