Preserving that charm

WE REFER to the letter “Our tarnished heritage” (June 17) and thank the residents of Tiong Bahru for their feedback.

On the feedback that the STB has allowed Hotel 81 to operate in close proximity to the Tiong Bahru residential area, we would like to clarify that no licence has been issued for the hotel to start operations in Tiong Bahru. Before they begin operations, hotel developments must be licensed by the Hotels Licensing Board (HLB), and applications to the board are required to comply with the requirements of the relevant government agencies. A licence will be issued only if the application meets all requirements stipulated in the Hotels Act.

However, HLB can also revoke the licence if there is any deviation from the hotel licensing conditions, such as evidence of vice activity in the hotel.

URA had granted approval for a hotel use at 1-9 Eng Hoon Street, as it is located in a mixed-use area where there are existing hotel developments in the vicinity.

With regard to the heritage value of Tiong Bahru, URA is mindful of maintaining the unique charm of the area. In fact, this was the reason URA decided to conserve the flats at Tiong Bahru. Regarding the concern on illegal operations of workers’ dormitories, URA has already served Enforcement Notices on the persons responsible for converting the residential premises in Tiong Bahru to unauthorised workers dormitories. If the unauthorised use does not cease by the stipulated date, court action will be taken against the persons responsible for the infringements.

The STB and URA believe that the residents’ concerns can be addressed through collaboration with law enforcement agencies and other Government bodies to ensure that the Tiong Bahru area retains its distinct charms.

Source : Today – 25 Jun 2009

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