SINGAPORE - The biggest collective redevelopment for public housing is in the offing for one of the country's oldest neighbourhoods in Queenstown.
Time may be up for 3,480 flats in 31 blocks along Tanglin Halt Road and Commonwealth Drive, which are slated to be demolished under the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme, or Sers.
Residents, who found out only yesterday, will be offered new flats in the nearby Dawson estate, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan announced in a blog post yesterday.
The affected blocks are 24 to 38, and 40 to 45 Tanglin Halt Road, and 55, 56, 58 to 60, and 62 to 66 Commonwealth Drive.
The revamp will also require 157 market and hawker stalls, 50 shops and four eating houses to move out. A new neighbourhood centre will be built, but other redevelopment plans are still pending.
Residents, many of whom have lived in the area for more than 50 years, will be given the choice of relocating to one of the five new sites along Dawson Road, Margaret Drive and Strathmore Avenue, which will have new developments by between 2019 and 2020.
Sers was introduced in August 1995 to rejuvenate ageing Housing Board blocks and has been implemented at 78 other sites, covering 349 blocks. Residents are offered replacement flats.
This is the largest project to date. The flats in question were completed between 1962 and 1963. Ranging from two-room to four-room flats, they are all owned. Residents will be compensated based on market value.
For instance, a three-room flat in the area would fetch between $305,000 and $390,000.
HDB and National Environment Agency (NEA) officers have begun going door to door to inform residents and business tenants of the changes.
Madam Quah Bee Lian, 74, who lives alone in a two-room flat at Block 25 Tanglin Halt Road, cheered the move.
She said: "My neighbours and I are all really happy. Why wouldn't you want a new flat?"
Still, others said they would miss the home they had lived in for decades. "It's very sayang. We've developed feelings for the place," said retiree Alice Lee, who has lived there for about 45 years.