Have clearer guidelines on use of public space

I believe there are Singaporeans who have been left wondering about the guidelines for ground-up initiatives using public spaces at Housing Board estates after the recent reports on the Christmas decorations in Clementi and Woodlands (No go for Xmas decorations on HDB ledge, Dec 14; Let it snow, let it snow - in Woodlands?, Dec 23).

What exactly are the criteria for approving ground-up initiatives like these, and on what grounds are they rejected?

Do the various town councils have different rules on this, such that Mr Philip Sobrielo Gene's project in Clementi was initially not approved but Mr Tan Koon Tat's decorations in Woodlands were allowed?

It is also worthy to note that some other non-festive ground-up initiatives, such as the golden staircase project last year, were previously deemed unauthorised and had to be removed (Gold stairs earn praise but are out of step with rules; March 8, 2017).

Is it a simple case of seeking permission from the relevant town council for such projects, or is there more to it?

Such ground-up initiatives are commendable because they show that residents take ownership of their living space and want to make it better for all.

So while the onus is on residents to coordinate with their town council, such efforts should also not be discouraged with ambiguous guidelines.

I hope the relevant authorities can set the record straight and shed some light on guidelines regarding the use of public spaces in HDB estates.

Sean Lim Wei Xin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 25, 2018, with the headline 'Have clearer guidelines on use of public space'. Print Edition | Subscribe