Rochor residents sad to leave

HDB residents affected by the land acquisition of Rochor Centre have said they are sad to leave their convenient and familiar surroundings.

Come 2016, the 567 households there will have to say goodbye to their estate.

This is to make way for the North-South Expressway’s (NSE) southern stretch that will be an underground tunnel from Toa Payoh Rise to East Coast Parkway.

Some residents have been living there for more than 30 years, since the development went up in 1977.

They were informed of the land acquisition exercise when HDB officers went door-to-door on Tuesday to distribute the notification letters and information kits.

Sixty-two-year-old resident Sae-Huan Sinet said: “I’ll miss this place, and I’m worried if the new place will be as convenient, if it’s as convenient for elderly residents.”

Another resident, Madam Tan, who is in her 70s, said: “Many of the neighbours here are my relatives, living in flats above and below mine.”

“A change of environment might not be a bad thing. As long as we have a flat to live in, it’s ok,” said 62-year-old resident Chan Tuck Wah.

Residents who are affected will be offered a new flat in Kallang.

HDB said most residents will be able to move to a brand new flat that is at least of equivalent size.

In some cases, HDB said residents may also enjoy net proceeds.

For instance, a three-room Rochor flat of 67 square metres — the most common unit-type — has an estimated market value of S$445,000.

About 70 per cent of the residents own such units.

A new flat in Kallang, after factoring in a S$30,000 discount, will cost S$342,000.

The subsidy will only apply to home owners who have not enjoyed more than one housing subsidy so far, and do not own private property.

Home owners will be given an additional S$4,800 to cover other expenses such as stamp fees.

This means a flat owner stands to gain more than S$100,000 in proceeds.

Work on the NSE will start in 2013, but work will be conducted in phases.

Residents will be able to stay in their homes until their new flats in Kallang are completed in 2016.

Commercial tenants of Rochor Centre will also be moving out.

Those who took over the premises before 1999 will receive payouts of S$60,000 each.

An additional S$30,000 will be given to those who choose to continue business at an alternative premise.

But tenants said the compensation is too little.

Hiap Guan Goldsmiths & Jewellers manager Sammy Fong said: “This S$60,000 has been offered for many years; there’s been no change in the amount over the years. It’s not a big sum of money.”

Turning Point Academy owner Amy Koh said: “I’m about to renovate my shop. The deposit has been paid. If I go ahead with the renovation now, when the government takes back the land, I’ll not be able to earn back the money spent.”

Another building that will make way for the new expressway is the 41-year-old Nanyang Pho Leng Building.

The building is home to a Teochew clan association, which has more than 1,000 members.

Channel NewsAsia understands there are hundreds of ancestral tablets housed on the third floor of the building, which will need to find new homes or be returned to the members.

The clan association directors could not be reached for comment.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 15 Nov 2011

Join The Discussion

Compare listings