Carpark site back in sight for Sungei Rd hawkers

Golden Mile Tower carpark owner LHN Group had previously lodged a police report over what it described as an act of vandalism after vendor lots were demarcated across the rooftop carpark space.
Golden Mile Tower carpark owner LHN Group had previously lodged a police report over what it described as an act of vandalism after vendor lots were demarcated across the rooftop carpark space.PHOTO: SHINMIN DAILY

Owner wants it returned to original condition, says rental still possible

Golden Mile Tower carpark owner LHN Group said it is prepared to set aside the matter of Sungei Road market association painting its rooftop carpark without permission, so long as it is reinstated to its original condition.

It had previously lodged a police report over what it described as an act of vandalism.

In its latest statement yesterday evening, LHN Group said that association chairman Koh Eng Khoon had "apologised officially" for sending a contractor to demarcate vendor lots across the rooftop carpark space on Tuesday.

This had been done ahead of the market's planned relaunch at the new venue tomorrow and before any commercial agreement had been inked with LHN Group.

LHN Group also said it will still consider renting the space to the market. It said, however, that if the agreement works out, approvals still need to be sought from various government agencies and the development's Management Corporation Strata Title.

Mr Koh told The Straits Times yesterday that he had rushed to demarcate parking spots to give vendors a preview of what their new slots would look like.

This would help to speed up the process of collecting deposits from them that would then go towards paying the $10,000 monthly fee of renting the carpark.

However, doing so without the authorisation of LHN Group was a mistake on his part, Mr Koh said.

"We discussed with the company the terms and conditions on Tuesday and they presented us several quotations. We understand the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) approval for change of use is needed before vendors can start hawking there."

Mr Koh, 76, said: "I'm really hoping that the company will still help us vendors and give us a chance to restart what we expect could be a thriving market."

On Monday, Mr Koh said nearly half of the defunct market's 200 vendors had expressed interest in moving to the carpark.

Materials distributed to vendors stated that daily rent will cost $5 for association members and $10 for non-members. A security deposit of $100 is required, along with a one-year commitment.

Each vendor would get about 1m by 2m of space at the site, which is able to house more than 160 vendors, said Mr Koh on Monday.

A statement by members of the Save Sungei Road Market group was also released on behalf of the market's association yesterday.

It said that the association is doing its best to "resolve the many issues related to the move" and that it does not have the experience of negotiating the official processes, adding that Mr Koh is unable to read and has been trying to cope with the "many phone calls seeking information".

"Our (the association's) resources are also quite constrained but we will do our best to make the relocation plan a real possibility," the statement read. It said the association had "received a verbal agreement from the management" with the understanding that the URA's approval is needed before vendors can open shop.

An architect has stepped forward to help the association initiate the application process with the URA, it added, and vendors have been informed of the delay.

It said that vendors "continue to support the relocation move".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2017, with the headline 'Carpark site back in sight for Sungei Rd hawkers'. Print Edition | Subscribe