Sequence of Lee Kuan Yew's plans on renovation/redevelopment of 38, Oxley Road

The home of former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew in Oxley Road.
The home of former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew in Oxley Road.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Footnotes in the Ministerial Committee report on 38, Oxley Road, gave more details of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's plans to renovate/redevelop the property.

The committee said "the renovation plans appear to have been specifically prepared with conservation requirements in mind".

It said that in January 2012, Mr Lee approved detailed plans to entirely overhaul the interior living areas while retaining the external structure and the basement dining room.

The detailed architectural plans were then approved by Mr Lee for submission to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in March 2012, and Mr Lee affirmed these plans in April and May 2012 after the URA's approval was obtained, said the committee.

The sequence, as reported in the footnotes:

Jan 2, 2012: Mr Lee Hsien Loong's wife, Madam Ho Ching, sent an e-mail to Mr Lee Kuan Yew and the rest of the family setting out the renovation/redevelopment plans in detail. They included Dr Lee Wei Ling, Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his wife, Mrs Lee Suet Fern.

In essence, the proposal was to retain the house's external structure and the basement dining room, but change the internal layout and private living spaces to protect the family's privacy, said the footnotes.

 
 

Mr Lee replied, telling his family that: "It is for you all to decide whether you want to refurbish and stay or to rent out. That will decide the layout… Mama would not like (it) to become a museum for people to tramp through. If it is refurbished and rented out it is OK."

In her e-mail to the family on this date, Madam Ho said the architect that she had consulted with (on Mr Lee Hsien Yang's introduction) had explained that "conservation requirements typically do not mean preserving the house in its entirety - the interior layouts are often changed to reflect new family usage needs. So we have the option for Oxley of redoing the entire interior layout to remove any linkages back to the private family space".

Jan 3, 2012: In a further e-mail reply, Mr Lee Kuan Yew told Madam Ho: "I have confidence in your judgment. Do what gives you maximum opportunities for later use."

April 30, 2012: Madam Ho updated Mr Lee Kuan Yew and the rest of the family, including Dr Lee, Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Mrs Lee Suet Fern, on the URA approvals and asked if Mr Lee needed her to follow up on anything else.

Mr Lee replied: "Noted. Nothing to follow up… Permission has been granted as I had previously signed in letters to them (URA). Will send them to you."

May 15, 2012: Madam Ho recommended that they follow up by working through the structural and other design details for the renovation/redevelopment plan. She volunteered to work with the architect and the design team as Mr Lee's representative. Mr Lee replied: "Noted. Proceed."