HDB 'jungle house' in Pasir Ris

Above: A reporter making his way through the potted plants. Left: A view of the "jungle" from an adjacent HDB block. The town council says it has advised the resident several times not to place too many potted plants in the common area.
Above: A reporter making his way through the potted plants. ST PHOTO: SHINTARO TAY
Above: A reporter making his way through the potted plants. Left: A view of the "jungle" from an adjacent HDB block. The town council says it has advised the resident several times not to place too many potted plants in the common area.
Above:A view of the "jungle" from an adjacent HDB block. The town council says it has advised the resident several times not to place too many potted plants in the common area.ST PHOTO: SHINTARO TAY

Resident keeps over 40 potted plants in common area; fears of safety hazard among neighbours

He may live in the corner unit of a Housing Board (HDB) block in Pasir Ris, but getting to the lift lobby for Mr H.Q. is like walking through an overgrown garden.

The 20-year-old, who would give only the initials of his name, lives next to what neighbours have nicknamed "the jungle house".

Rows of leafy plants are crammed pot-to-pot in the common space in front of the eighth-floor unit in Block 101 Pasir Ris Street 6.

When The Straits Times visited yesterday, there were about 40 tall potted plants lining the walkway. A woman in her late 40s, who did not want to be identified, was seen watering the plants and trimming leaves.

Neighbours say the large collection of plants is an obstruction and a fire hazard. "The plants have been like this for the past eight to nine years," said a neighbour who lives in a maisonette below the "garden" and who declined to be named. He said he sometimes has to trim the creepers growing on the balcony of the eighth-floor unit that reach down to his window. The plants also attract red ants, which come into his unit.

"The other neighbours and I have approached (the resident of the eighth-floor flat) directly in the past and the town council has contacted her, but nothing much has changed," said the neighbour, who is in his mid-60s. "The number of plants has reduced recently, though."

The owner has told ST that she has not been approached by her neighbours, and that if they had done so, she would have been accommodating and made changes.

An eighth-floor neighbour, Mr Lee, 67, who declined to give his full name, said cleaners occasionally help to remove some of the plants. He said the owner has been tending to the plants diligently every morning for many years and that only the units near the corner are affected.

Mr H.Q. and his family have few complaints about the plants growing beside their doorstep. "The owner maintains the plants so that they don't grow into our area," he said, adding that the owner is a keen gardener averse to killing the plants because of her religious beliefs.

 
 
 

But he admits that they pose a safety hazard and are difficult to navigate if he is holding large items.

A spokesman for Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council said it has advised the owner several times not to place too many potted plants in the common area. But while she would remove some of them, she often returns them to the common area later.

The spokesman added that while the town council understands the resident's desire to create a high-rise garden city, it "would like to reiterate the importance for residents to maintain obstruction-free passageways. This will create a safe living environment for all".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 28, 2019, with the headline 'HDB 'jungle house' in Pasir Ris'. Print Edition | Subscribe