Feb 24, 2007

16 blocks of flats in Tanjong Pagar selected for Sers

Residents will be first to be compensated under proposed changes to land acquisition law

TWO sites in Henderson Road and Kampong Silat estate have been selected for the Housing Board's on-going redevelopment scheme.

Sixteen HDB blocks and several shops in the two areas will be affected by the Selective En-bloc Redevelopment Scheme (Sers). This would affect more than 700 households.

Under Sers, old flats are demolished to make way for new ones to intensify land use while retaining residents' ties with the neighbourhood.

Tanjong Pagar GRC MP Indranee Rajah said last night that the latest Sers project was 'special' as new compensation rules would apply.

Several affected blocks are in her Tanglin-Cairnhill ward.

Changes are being made to the Land Acquisition Act. When passed by Parliament, it means that affected residents will be paid market values for their flats, she said at a Tanjong Pagar Chinese New Year dinner.

It was also attended by Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and other Tanjong Pagar GRC MPs.

Residents affected by Sers are currently paid market values based on 1995 levels or prevailing rates, whichever is lower.

However, the HDB has topped up what residents receive with an additional payment - if the lower payout is the 1995 rate.

Ms Rajah said affected flat owners will be offered new homes at Kim Tian Road, near the Tiong Bahru MRT station.

The HDB will build about 1,100 units of new two- to five-room replacement flats.

These will be ready by 2011, the Housing Board said in a statement yesterday.

The units affected by the latest Sers project are three 32-year-old blocks in Henderson Road, and 13 blocks along Silat Walk, Kampong Bahru and Silat Road which are around 55 to 58 years old.

They are Blocks 94 to 96 at Henderson Road, and Blocks 17 to 19 and 22 to 31 at the Kampong Silat estate.

One of them, Block 95 at Henderson Road, is a rental block. HDB will offer the tenants relocation benefits.

Shop owners affected by Sers will also be compensated at prevailing market rates, while eligible shop tenants will be offered an ex-gratia payment of $60,000, said the HDB.

Ms Rajah also said that three rental blocks in her ward will be upgraded.

Blocks 91 to 93 at Henderson Road will have lifts stop on every floor. Squatting toilet bowls will be changed to seated toilet bowls, and blocks will be re-painted.

She said this was fulfilment of some promises she made, as residents in these blocks told her their flats were old and needed changes.

'I promised that I would push to do something there. I'm glad to have fulfilled my promise,' she said.