Businessman's Bedok coffee-shop plans go awry

PHOTO: The Straits Times

He spent about $180,000 to renovate a shophouse unit in Jalan Pari Burong in Bedok, hoping to operate a coffee shop there, selling items such as chicken rice, porridge and noodles.

Businessman Neo Puay Ann, 54, had purchased the place in 2013 from its previous owner, who ran a catering business, for about $2 million.

He hoped a coffee shop would add to the variety of offerings along the stretch which is filled with restaurants.

But his plans have now hit a roadblock and his dream of running a coffee shop remains unfulfilled because he cannot get a licence to run an eatery there.

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An Urban Redevelopment Authority spokesman said renovation works at No. 2 Jalan Pari Burong had been carried out without obtaining prior planning permission for the unit to be used as an eatery.

She said that the authority was unable to approve the change of use of the unit from a shop to an eatery "due to the severe traffic congestion and adverse feedback from residents in the estate".

Mr Neo, who has written letters of appeal to the authorities, said he is in a rut.

"It's a headache for me as my monthly instalment is $7,000," he said.

His freshly renovated shop is now being rented out to a crab supplier and delivery business for about $2,000 a month.

This article was first published on June 12, 2016.
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