Rochor Centre to be demolished soon

The four brightly coloured housing blocks will be demolished to make way for a new expressway. 

Rochor Centre, a public housing estate in the Bugis area dating back to the 1970s, will be demolished by the end of this year to make way for the new North-South Expressway, reported The Straits Times.

Built in 1977, it consists of four brightly coloured HDB blocks that originally housed 183 shops and 567 households. But due to its imminent redevelopment, 106 shops have closed while 36 households have relocated as of January 2016.

However, many long-time residents are saddened about having to move out of Rochor Centre.

Victor Devan, 70, an Indian who speaks English, Teochew, Hokkien and Cantonese, calls it a heartland in Singapore. “It reminds me of the kampong that I grew up in when I was little.”

Moving to another home is painful as they have developed great relationships with their neighbours, added Devan, who is affectionately called ‘orh hia’ (black brother) by neighbours and shopkeepers in the estate.

According to Denise Phua, Member of Parliament for Jalan Besar GRC, which includes Bugis, life will not be the same for the residents, but they can look forward to more greenery and a tranquil environment compared to that in busy Rochor.

The Housing Board revealed that 91 percent of the residents in Rochor Centre will move to HDB flats at nearby Kallang Trivista. Of this, 15 percent opted to relocate to units close to their relatives or former neighbours in Rochor Centre.

Rochor Centre is one of three historic public housing estates that will soon be torn down for redevelopment. The others are Dakota Crescent and four low-rise HDB blocks in Siglap, that were built in 1958 and 1964, respectively.

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