Pre-war flats must keep old facade, warns URA

Tiong Bahru residents living in 20 pre-war conservation flats have been reminded to stick to the guidelines for renovating home exteriors.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) posted notices around the estate last week informing homeowners to seek permission before making alterations. Those found disobeying the rules were sent official letters, reported The Straits Times.

The flats were awarded conservation status back in 2003 due to their “rich history, unique architecture and familiar streetscapes”. Built in the 1930s, by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) which is HDB’s predecessor, the Art Deco-style units formed part of Singapore’s first public housing estate.

Some residents have argued that it would be challenging to achieve a standard look for pre-war flats as older residents have made changes to the units’ appearance even before conservation, noted resident Chan Chi Tin.

“It’s a tricky balance for the agency. It needs to work towards a uniform look to preserve these one-of-a-kind pre-war flats while managing the expectations of owners,” said Ben Gan, another resident.

But a URA spokesman said such efforts are necessary “as more people move in and out of the estate”.

“We thought that it was timely to create more awareness and remind owners about our conservation guidelines for the Tiong Bahru conserved blocks.”

Under URA’s guidelines, owners must retain the external facade and other key architectural elements of the flats, but can renovate the interiors.

The spokesman added that any renovations prior to conservation may be retained, but owners must adhere to the rules if their home is renovated again.
Source : GURU – 13 May 2013


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