Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Dakota Crescent tenants hit by news of redevelopment

SINGAPORE — Residents of rental flats in Dakota Crescent — many of whom have lived there since the blocks were built in the 1950s — are still unsure of their plans after learning recently that they will have to move out by Dec 31, 2016.

SINGAPORE — Residents of rental flats in Dakota Crescent — many of whom have lived there since the blocks were built in the 1950s — are still unsure of their plans after learning recently that they will have to move out by Dec 31, 2016.

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) broke the news to the residents of 17 blocks of rental flats there during a visit on Wednesday because of plans to redevelop the area for new residences. About 400 households are affected by the decision.

Given the less-than-stellar conditions of the blocks there, some residents said they had felt such a move was coming.

“It can’t be helped, because the government needs the land,” said Ms Alice Lai, 58, who lives in a three-room flat with her older brother.

Although tenants may get a S$15,000 relocation grant — if they are first-time buyers — on top of the Additional CPF Housing Grant and Special CPF Housing Grant to buy their own flats, many are retirees who do not have enough savings to do so.

About two-thirds of the households have one or more elderly members, the HDB said.

The affected residents can also choose to relocate to new rental flats nearby at Cassia Crescent or receive priority to 1-room or 2-room rental flats in other HDB estates, if they are available. They will also receive a removal allowance of S$1,000 to defray the expenses of relocation.

Having lived in Dakota Crescent for 51 years — since she was three years old — Madam Rahmat Bee said she will be sad to leave her home. But being without an income after she was certified unfit for work by her doctors following an operation, she said she will have to continue to rent. She has yet to decide if she will relocate to Cassia Crescent or move to Pasir Ris to be near her sisters.

Another long-time resident of more than 50 years, who wished to be known only as Mr Cheng, said the re-development of an old estate such as Dakota Crescent was “more or less expected”.

Asked if he will consider buying a flat, he replied: “If you’re an older (person) why would you want to buy? Why get yourself in debt?”

The affected area’s Member of Parliament, Mr Lim Biow Chuan (Mountbatten), noted that the relocation was an exercise to “try to improve the living conditions of the residents there”. He cited complaints of regular lift breakdowns in the blocks there.

Acknowledging that relocation exercises will always be inconvenient, Mr Lim said it would be beneficial in the long term.

“Some may not want to leave, but if you leave them there (with the flats) in that condition, it’s really not ideal for them because the building is really quite old,” he added.

Mr Lim, along with grassroots leaders, will be speaking to residents within the next two weeks to address any issues or confusion they might have.

Located off Old Airport Road, Dakota Crescent’s mix of low-rise HDB blocks have been unchanged since they were first built in 1958 and it is one of Singapore’s oldest HDB estates.

Named after a plane model that landed at Kallang Airport in the past, the flats in the estate are fitted with retro-looking grills and doors of yore. Its old-school dove-shaped playground with mosaic tiles are reminiscent of Singapore in the 1950s.

Asked if the estate will be marked for conservation, the HDB said it will “work with the relevant authorities to take cognisance of the social memories of the area when redevelopment takes place in the future”.

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.

Aa