Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hougang HUDC proposal in limbo

HDB tells residents more time needed to count the costs

SOME 17 months after the idea was mooted, a proposal to privatise an HUDC estate in Hougang remains in limbo.

This, despite the fact that to date, 282 resident owners have voted in favour of it, more than the 75 per cent required.

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) says that it is still working out the conversion costs.

However, some residents wish that the HDB could act faster to decide on the fate of the seven blocks of HUDC units overlooking the scenic Serangoon River at Hougang Avenue 7.

The seven blocks, 344 to 350, occupy some 420,000 sq ft of land, the size of seven football fields.

Five of them are low-rise, four-storey blocks, while the other two, 10- and 14-storeys.

According to an estimate by long-time resident Ong Boon San, the whole area if sold collectively, could fetch more than $1.5 million per apartment.

“According to the air ratio, they can build up to 30 storeys. And our blocks here ... are low-rise four-storeys, so if they build up to 30 storeys, they’ve a 26-storey gain,” Mr Ong said.

Mr Lee Meng Chin, chairman of the nine-member privatisation protem committee for the area, said, some 80 per cent of residents, including those who were overseas, had voted for privatisation.

However, even with the majority vote, they had been told by the HDB that it still needed time to calculate the cost of converting the estate into a private one, Mr Lee said.

The same reason was given when Mr Lee contacted the HDB in August last year and in January.

“So we’re quite disappointed and disillusioned. Maybe bad timing because last year was a very eventful year,” Mr Lee said.

The HDB told 938 LIVE that it is still looking into the matter.

Mr Lee said the committee plans to wait a couple of more months before seriously discussing their next move.

Some residents seemed more resigned than disappointed.

“Whether you privatise or not I still stay here ... At this point in time, who’s going to buy at the price they dream about?,” one said. So far, 13 of the 18 HUDC estates in Singapore have been privatised. 938LIVE

Source: Today, 21 May 2009

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