8 reasons residents oppose the centre

- Increase in noise and pollution levels from the traffic going to and from the centre

- Insufficient space for weddings and wakes to be held in the void deck

- Too much clutter in the estate - it already has a Residents' Committee centre, childcare centre and kindergarten

- More accidents in the estate due to an increase in traffic

- Less parking space in the carparks

- More deaths in the estate. This will create emotional stress and is rather inauspicious to the residents

- The value of estate will decrease due to the limited space, increase in noise and pollution levels

- Blocks 860 and 861 do not have a significant proportion of the elderly

Previous cases

June 2010: Some residents in a block of flats in Chua Chu Kang petitioned against the building of a new childcare centre in the void deck.

They felt the centre would destroy the ambience, obstruct air and light flow, reduce rain shelter and deprive them of their right to enjoy the void deck.

Feb 2010: Tampines and Pasir Ris residents were upset about new rental flats that were being built in their neighbourhood.

They felt these flats would devalue other flats in the estate, lower the quality of living there and block their breeze.

Sept 2008: Private residents in Serangoon Gardens threw a fit when the Government wanted to convert a former school site into a temporary dormitory for foreign workers.

The residents raised several concerns, including traffic congestion, security and safety. The dormitory opened in Dec 2009.

Property players disagree on issue

Property experts TNP spoke to were divided as to whether having an eldercare centre would affect property prices at the block.

Mr Eric Cheng, chief executive of ECG Property, said: "From our experience, having a centre - like an eldercare centre or dialysis centre - can be an issue when buyers use this as an excuse to negotiate for lower prices.

"The COVs (cash over valuation) for such transactions can be around $25,000 compared to about $32,000 if there were no centres at the block."

Differing views

But PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail disagreed. He felt prices would be affected only if the centre was not enclosed and not well-managed.

He said: "This will happen only if the elderly spend their nights in the void deck, sing karaoke throughout the night or play mahjong in the centre.

"But I'm sure this will not be the case since MOH (Ministry of Health) is involved.

"If handled well, an eldercare centre can, in fact, be a plus. It can be an amenity to the seller."

A welfare organisation that provides services to the elderly told TNP that residents could have differing views on these centres.

These opinions usually depended on whether the resident had a need for these centres.

Said Lions Befrienders executive director Goh Boo Han: "Basically, people appreciate these centres only when they need it."

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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