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Thread: Court quashes couple's bid to convert semi-detached to bungalow

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    Default Court quashes couple's bid to convert semi-detached to bungalow

    http://www.straitstimes.com/Money/St...ry_400401.html

    July 8, 2009 Wednesday

    Court quashes couple's bid to convert semi-detached to bungalow

    House attached to it does not sit on a plot big enough for a bungalow

    By Joyce Teo, Property Correspondent


    A DECISION in a legal case has just re-affirmed a key principle of property development - a semi-detached house can be converted to a bungalow only if the neighbouring house is also on a plot large enough for a bungalow.

    The case centred on co-owners who wanted planning permission to convert their semi-detached house in the Upper Thomson area into a bungalow.

    Madam Borissik Svetlana and her husband Low Eng Pah applied for permission in 2007 - after buying the house - to erect a two-storey bungalow with a basement, an attic and a swimming pool.

    Their application was rejected by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) but the couple went to the High Court to get the order overturned.

    The court dismissed their appeal last week and referred to a 2002 URA order that imposed restrictions on the redevelopment of semi-detached houses.

    It was concerned that redeveloping some semi-detached houses into bungalows could leave the adjacent semi-detached house with a lop-sided appearance if the land it is on is too small to accommodate a bungalow.

    The 2002 circular stated that 'a semi-detached house can break away if the adjoining semi-detached house is also capable of redeveloping into a standard detached house under prevailing guidelines'.

    This means that the adjoining semi-detached houses must each stand on at least 400 sq m of land - the minimum plot size for a detached house. The plots must also have a width of 10m.

    The couple's semi-detached house at 2 Jalan Chengam sits on 419 sq m of land but the house to which it is attached, 1A, has a plot of only 244.5 sq m.

    If their redevelopment plan had been approved, the remaining semi-detached house would become the type of lop-sided home the 2002 circular was drafted to prevent, the High Court said.

    To make it worse, the remaining house would be sandwiched in between two bungalow lots of at least 400 sq m. This would create an anomaly in the Jalan Chengam area that would be hard to correct, it said.

    The couple argued that there was no reason why their redevelopment plans had been rejected when the redevelopment plans for 1 Jalan Chengam and 3 Jalan Chengam were approved.

    But 3 Jalan Chengam received approval early this year as it sits on a 432.8 sq m plot while its adjoining house sits on a 446.3 sq m plot. And the redevelopment of 1 Jalan Chengam - which once sat on 653 sq m of land - took place in the early 1990s and was approved before the 2002 rules kicked in.

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    They talk about not allowing change to bungalow because of lop-sided appearance, but there are many adjacent semi-Ds in Singapore with uneven heights (some 2 some 3 storeys) and plot sizes and with different designs and facade, so I don't know what the tokking court.

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