Guidelines for Non-Exclusive and Limited Religious Use

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Details
In response to requests from religious organisations to allow some flexibility for religious use within industrial premises, URA has reviewed the guidelines for industrial premises to allow religious use on a non-exclusive and limited use basis. Under current guidelines, religious use is not permitted in industrial premises. Premises zoned for industrial use are primarily safeguarded for industrial activities such as manufacturing, production and warehousing activities to support our economic development. The land use zoning ensures that our industries have access to competitively-priced land. Conversion of industrial premises for non-industrial uses is not allowed as it will lead to an erosion of industrial space. Religious use should be conducted on premises zoned as Place of Worship in the Master Plan.

Guidelines
  • To help religious organisations better meet their space needs, URA is prepared to allow non-exclusive and limited religious use within industrial premises that are zoned Business 1 (B1) provided the predominant use is kept as industrial use and the religious use does not alter the primary character and function of the industrial premises. “Non-exclusive and limited religious use” means that the industrial premises shall not be used exclusively for religious use at the expense of industrial activities, and religious activities in industrial premises are limited to only certain days in a week and occupy only part of the industrial premises within the ancillary use quantum. Conversion of industrial premises into places of worship or offices for religious organisations will continue to be disallowed.
  • Areas within B1 industrial premises that can be considered for non-exclusive and limited religious use are as follows:
a) Existing common facilities that are allowable within the 40% ancillary use quantum1, such as auditoriums, multi-purpose halls, theatres and training rooms. These common facilities are intended to serve the needs of all the factory operators in the industrial development. Religious activities can be allowed in these common facilities for a maximum of 2 days per week (including Saturdays and Sundays).

b) Ancillary supporting spaces within each factory unit2 such as meeting rooms and training rooms that are currently used to support industrial activities. These spaces can be allowed for religious use when the factory is not in operation (for instance on Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays or at night) so that it does not conflict with or displace industrial activities. However, if the factory unit is vacant, religious use will not be allowed. Ancillary supporting spaces should not exceed 40% of the factory unit size.

Conditions
The non-exclusive and limited use of industrial premises for religious purposes is subject to the following conditions:
a) No exclusive lease, no ownership of premises by the religious organisations
The premises shall not be owned by or leased exclusively to religious organisations. The common facilities such as ancillary-approved auditoriums, multi-purpose halls, theatres and training rooms shall be available for industrial-related activities such as industrial training/talks, product demonstrations, etc., during the remaining days in the week;

b) No display of external signage or religious symbols
There shall be no display of signage, advertisements or posters of the religious use at the premises or on the exterior of the building. The premises should not be furnished to resemble a worship hall and there shall be no display of religious symbols, icons or any religious paraphernalia at or within the venue when it is not in use by the religious organisation; and

c) No disturbances such as noise, fumes, traffic, and parking problems
The building owners and the religious organisations shall take appropriate measures to ensure that the activities do not cause disturbances to the public.

Grace Period
Existing religious organisations that are using factory units for religious uses on an exclusive basis will be granted a 3-year grace period with effect from the date of this circular to comply with the conditions as stated in Paragraphs 4 and 5. During the 3-year grace period, they can continue their religious use, subject to the following conditions: 

a) the use shall not cause any disturbances such as noise, fumes, traffic and parking problems; 
b) the use shall not spill outside the factory unit onto common or public areas; 
c) there shall be no intensification of religious use; and 
d) there shall be no unauthorised structures or tentages.

If complaints on such existing religious use are received during the grace period, the religious organisation will have to take immediate mitigating measures to address the concerns. After the 3-year grace period, the religious organisations should either relocate to approved places for Place of Worship or scale back their usage to comply with the non-exclusive and limited religious use guidelines.
No new religious organisations will be allowed to use industrial premises on an exclusive basis after the effective date of this circular. The 3-year grace period will not be applicable to them and they will be subject to enforcement action.

Submission to URA
Religious organisations who wish to use industrial premises for non-exclusive and limited basis are required to obtain prior clearance from URA. They must provide information including the size of the factory unit, type of industrial activity, nature and frequency of religious use, etc,. If the user is allowed, the property owner and the religious organisation will then need to submit a joint Letter of Undertaking to abide by the conditions.

Application Form Download - Non-Exclusive and Limited Religious Use Form

JTC Non-Exclusive and Limited Religious