A SPAT between two developers about the re-routing of an access road has gone all the way to the Court of Appeal.
Both Pacific Rover and Yickvi Realty have condominium projects on adjoining parcels of land off Newton Road. But Yickvi had a right-of-way access road to its new 11-storey property that cut through Pacific Rover’s land.
Pacific Rover, which had received planning permission to build two 30-storey residential units, wanted to optimise land usage and shift part of the access road nearer to the property’s boundary. Its condominium, called Trilight, is due to be completed in April 2011.
Yickvi initially agreed to the request, provided the subterranean electric cables, pipes and other service installations beneath the road were shifted in line with the newly adjusted road.
But talks broke down last year and the case went to the High Court, which ruled Yickvi could not object to the road shift as it would not cause a major inconvenience to the occupants of its building.
Yickvi, through lawyers from Rajah & Tann, appealed to the highest court, which agreed with the earlier ruling but ordered Pacific Rover to make sure Yickvi had immediate access, whenever reasonably required, to maintain and repair the cables running under the original route.
The Court of Appeal made clear the inconvenience caused by the realignment of the access road was not the real issue.
Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong, in delivering the grounds on the court’s behalf, said: ‘First, because of the scarcity of land in Singapore, land should be allowed to be developed to its optimal potential as permitted by planning law and the claimant suffers no injury or inconvenience as a result.’
He added that allowing the road shift would prevent further suits taking place and this was a second public benefit.
Lawyers from Rodyk & Davidson, acting for Pacific Rovers, said the judgment was a landmark move as past cases showed a right-of-way cannot be changed without the consent of the party who held that right.
Lawyer Ling Tien Wah said the court showed in this case that, in certain circumstances, the change could go ahead.
‘The court held the owner of the right could not stop the other party from realigning the right-of-way, provided it was advantageous to both parties,’ he said.
DEVELOP LAND OPTIMALLY
‘Because of the scarcity of land in Singapore, land should be allowed to be developed to its optimal potential as permitted by planning law and the claimant suffers no injury or inconvenience as a result.’ - Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong
Source: Straits Times, 29 Sep 2009