Clear approach to building conservation needed

It is surprising that the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is stepping in again to consider the conservation of heritage buildings in Singapore (Golden Mile Complex launches en bloc tender while under conservation study; Oct 30).

Last year, URA announced that the defunct bottling factory that formerly produced soft drinks like Kickapoo Joy Juice and Sinalco would be conserved partially.

It was a move welcomed by heritage lovers. While the urge by such activists to preserve our heritage is good, they have to be sensitive to the owners who have invested large sums of money in certain projects in anticipation of reaping returns.

URA has always put forth clear and comprehensive plans that have transformed our country from Third World to First World within one generation.

Currently, there are guidelines to ensure the conservation of buildings which are identified to be of heritage value and gazetted. There may be plans to conserve more buildings. Therefore, there is a need to guard against haphazard initiatives which will not be good for the overall management of our assets. More needs to be done to give incentives to owners of properties slated for conservation and provide a win-win solution.

Let's work together to provide an environment that will benefit the owners, society and the future generation through clear conservation policies and not one that benefits some and not all.

Philip Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2018, with the headline 'Clear approach to building conservation needed'. Print Edition | Subscribe