Planters’ Haven comes of age

Those of you who remember the popular TV show Dallas or the Oscar-winning movie Gone With The Wind will probably find some similarities between these and Planters’ Haven, Sime Darby Property Bhd’s exclusive gated residential development set in a mature orchard.

The project was conceived in the 1990s, during the boom years of the property industry, when words like “green living” and “sustainability” were hardly heard. Even so, the idea of owning bungalow lots in an orchard setting generated quite a bit of interest. Today, the fruit trees have matured and provide great shade from the heat of the afternoon sun.

For those visiting the freehold development in Nilai, Negri Sembilan, for the first time, the drive will take about 30 to 45 minutes from Kuala Lumpur using the North-South Expressway. It takes less time for those coming from Petaling Jaya or Subang.

On reaching the sprawling 270-acre Planters’ Haven, visitors and residents have to stop at a guardhouse, where they are screened before entering the gated community. At present, 11 families reside in the area apart from those owners who have built holiday homes here. After passing the guardhouse, you will come across a horse stable. This is the latest addition to the area and houses the horses owned by both Sime Darby and the residents.

The sun hovers majestically over Planter's Haven, bathing it in its warm raysThe horse stable was completed three months ago and riders can now enjoy riding on a track built on the other side of the highway, which is accessible via a tunnel beneath the road.

After a short drive from the stable, visitors are greeted by a plantation theme clubhouse that features an infinity pool looking out to a beautiful, green vista. Worshippers of the sun can acquire their tan while others can sip cool beverages in the comfortable lounge area. The clubhouse, was completed in 2008 and boasts a gym, a multi-purpose hall and an outdoor tennis court, among others.

At present, one wing is used as a sales office for prospective buyers, where miniature models of the entire development and various bungalow designs are showcased. The overview model shows a natural and undulating landscape, which the developer has taken great efforts to protect.

“Every tree is itemised so that we know how many trees we have and where they are located. If a tree is felled or removed, the contractor will be fined,” says Datuk Tunku Putra Badlishah, managing director of Sime Darby Property.

There are a minimum of 16 fruit trees on each plot of land. Numerous trees, such as durian, jackfruit and mango, can be seen. When in season, residents enjoy a veritable feast.

The development is built on agricultural land and in a mature orchard. A variety of fruit trees can be found on the homesteads such as the popular durian and jackfruit. Homeowners can expect to find at least 16 fruit trees on their lotsFrom the clubhouse, visitors can ride a car or buggy amongst the knolls and along meandering roads while taking in the view.

All utilities are built underground so that the natural landscape is protected and the views are not blocked, explains Tunku Putra Badlishah.

The infrastructure and houses incorporate a green building methodology. Both innovative and proven methods of natural ventilation are encouraged to reduce the use of air conditioning and whenever possible, tropical landscaping is used as privacy screens in lieu of fabricated fencing.

The developer has stipulated that only 25% of the lots can be cleared so that the rest is kept green.

With the wide expanse of trees and greenery, visitors will find that they do not perspire profusely at Planters’ Haven, even in the midday sun.

“The basic landscape concept is to preserve and enhance the existing indigenous vegetation within the development. This will ensure that carbon emissions are absorbed and reduced, thus contributing to clean air,” says Tunku Putra Badlishah.

To ensure this oasis of sustainable living is safe, a 24-hour security system is in place. There is a 5km perimeter wide electric fencing linked to the guardhouse, where security personnel can monitor and pinpoint the exact location of a breach. The voltage is not high enough to cause damage but sufficient to deter intruders. Pet owners need not fret as there is a barrier to prevent the animals from going near the fence.

Additionally, the main gates are closed at 10pm to prevent unauthorised entry. Owners need only buzz the guardhouse if they return home late.

The effort and time spent to ensure its  natural landscape is protected and preserved, coupled with careful planning, make Planters’ Haven a unique development.

This article appeared in City & Country Special Focus, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 760, June 22 - 28, 2009.
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