Rochor residents have to move

New plans for the upcoming North-South Expressway (NSE) were revealed yesterday, which will result in almost 570 families and 190 retailers and eateries moving out of Rochor Centre.

To build the NSE's southern section, the Government will be acquiring two full plots of land.

These comprise the land along Rochor Road on which Rochor Centre is sited, as well as the land in Keng Lee Road occupied by the Nanyang Pho Leng Building, an association building for Teochews.

Slivers of land on which 21 private properties sit will also need to be acquired by the Government, to facilitate the construction of the southern part of the NSE.

Some other properties that will make way for the NSE include the Victoria Street Wholesale Centre and Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and Singapore Land Authority (SLA) said that residents of the four blocks of Housing Board flats at Rochor Centre, which are more than 30 years old, will be offered relocation benefits.

These will be similar to those offered under the Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme.

The HDB will build about 810 new flats in Kallang - expected to be completed in mid-2016 - which the affected residents can move into.

However, this means that Rochor Centre could be gone in 2016.

Some benefits which Rochor Centre residents can expect include an additional 20 per cent discount of up to $30,000 when buying new flats, as well as compensation for their flats which will be pegged to prevailing market values.

Retailers and eatery owners at the centre will be offered relocation benefits, too.

For instance, they will be given a 10 per cent discount off their monthly rental rates should they successfully win a tender for other HDB rental commercial properties.

LTA and SLA said owners of other private land acquired by the Government will also get market-value compensation.

Help will be given by public agencies to owners, such as those in the Nanyang Pho Leng Building, to relocate as well.

Housewife Lo Chew Lan, 57, who has been living in Block 2 at Rochor Centre for about 30 years, said it was a pity that she has to move out.

"The neighbours all know each other, and (Rochor Centre is) really a convenient place," said Madam Lo.

"For decades, we have been hearing that the Government wanted us to move out, but we didn't think anything of it. We found out only yesterday when the HDB sent us the letter."

LTA and SLA said the new 21.5km NSE will benefit residents living in the north and north-eastern parts of Singapore, as it helps to meet an expected growth in traffic demand arising from new developments there.

It will also allow motorists travelling between the north and the city centre to save up to 30 per cent in travel time during peak periods.

Major construction works for the NSE will start in 2015.

kennyc@sph.com.sg

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY GWENDOLYN NG


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