Thursday, 23 August 2007

Some good news....Potong Pasir is equally old, so do consider it too

Abstracted from

Govt launches HIP scheme for upgrading of HDB flats

SINGAPORE : If you've been waiting to upgrade the toilets or repair a spalling concrete ceiling in your old Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat, a new upgrading scheme launched by the Government on 21st August means that you now can - and you will pay less to do it.

The Home Improvement Programme (HIP), which replaces the Main Upgrading Programme (MUP), will allow residents to opt for improvements to their toilets, front doors and grilles or refuse hoppers, even as "essential" upgrades to their waste pipes, bamboo pole holders and structural repairs are carried out - the cost of the latter to be borne fully by the Government.

Residents will also enjoy much higher subsidies, as the Government will foot 87.5 per cent to 95 per cent of the cost for optional improvements.

Residents can expect to pay $550 to $1,375 if they choose all the upgrade options in the optional improvements component.

Some 300,000 flats across 22 estates and towns built in or prior to 1989 and that have not undergone the MUP, are eligible for the HIP.

As under the MUP, works will proceed if at least 75 per cent of the eligible lessees in the block vote for it.

Details of the new upgrading programmes, as well as rejuvenation proposals for Punggol and Dawson, will soon be on display in a series of public exhibitions, the first of which will be held at the HDB Hub Mall from Sept 1 to 8.

As announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on 19th August, Yishun and Tampines will be the first to pilot the HIP scheme.

Other eligible estates and towns are Ang Mo Kio, Queenstown, Bukit Panjang and Pasir Ris.

Hougang - which includes the Opposition ward held by the Workers' Party's Low Thia Kiang - is also included, although it is not immediately clear which blocks there will be affected by the HIP. Missing from the list was Opposition ward Potong Pasir.

Mr Desmond Lim, consultant for the Potong Pasir Town Council, said that the Government should give "due consideration" to the flats in the Opposition wards "if the criteria is the age of the flats".

According to him, the 60 blocks in Potong Pasir and Toa Payoh Lorong 8 - which are under Mr Chiam See Tong's purview - are more than 20 and 30 years old respectively, and eligible for upgrade.

But speaking on the sidelines of a business event, Ms Grace Fu, Minister of State for National Development, said: "Like all HDB upgrading projects, there will be prioritisation involved".

She noted that the selection of eligible areas was based on the age of the estate, and not politically-demarcated wards. "

As long as they meet the age criteria for the programme, they will be considered," she said.

According to the HDB, precincts are selected based on age, the condition of the flats, common areas' geographical spread, and support for Government programmes.

Ms Fu noted that the HIP, which has been tailored to meet changing expectations, gives residents flexibility to choose how much they want to upgrade.

If you are a young couple and have done renovations before, you may not want the full fledged HIP. But if you have not renovated for 20 years, you can go for the full package," she said, estimating that the pilot schemes would be completed in about two or three years.

Yishun resident Mdm Mary Chee, who has been living in her three-room executive flat for about 20 years, welcomed the scheme.

She plans to choose all the upgrade options: "We've been wanting to renovate the toilets for some time now. This scheme means it's cheaper than doing it ourselves, so why not?"

The HDB on Tuesday also expanded on the new Neighbourhood Renewal Programme, which replaces the Interim Upgrading Programme.

Residents will see precinct-level upgrades such as block surveillance systems, skating parks, tennis courts and soccer hardcourts.

It will affect 200,000 flats, some of which will also being undergoing the HIP.

The HDB is studying the list of suitable neighbourhoods - including middle-aged estates such as Bishan and Serangoon - and details will be announced in coming months.

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