3 households in acquisition dispute finally accept govt payout

A passer-by in front of 33, Merpati Road, which has been taken over by SLA as its owners are no longer occupying it. Meanwhile, the remaining occupants of 27 and 29, Merpati Road are in the midst of packing up and moving out.
A passer-by in front of 33, Merpati Road, which has been taken over by SLA as its owners are no longer occupying it. Meanwhile, the remaining occupants of 27 and 29, Merpati Road are in the midst of packing up and moving out.ST FILE PHOTO

They had refused to move out of their homes in Merpati Road despite 4 extensions given

The occupants of three Merpati Road freehold homes, which were acquired for redevelopment in August 2010, have finally accepted compensation from the state after initially resisting and missing the original deadline to move out by end-August 2015.

The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) has since taken physical possession of 33, Merpati Road, in MacPherson, as its owners are no longer occupying the property.

Meanwhile, the remaining occupants of 27 and 29, Merpati Road are in the midst of packing up and moving out.

Late last month, the Government served them a final warning and took legal possession of the units "to avoid further delay to the development plans in the area".

They are part of a group of 15 landed properties in Merpati Road and Jalan Anggerek which were gazetted in 2010 for redevelopment around the upcoming Downtown Line's Mattar Station.

SLA had also given them four deadline extensions amounting to a total of a year and eight months.

Some of the occupants were previously reported as saying they were resisting moving out because the compensation would not allow them to buy a similar-sized landed property in the area.

FURTHER EXTENSIONS NOT FEASIBLE

The deadline cannot be extended further as agencies will need to commence road realignment and infrastructure works to prepare the area for development.

SLA'S SPOKESMAN, in the latest statement on the acquisition dispute. 

The Straits Times (ST) understands that the three households were offered between $1.7 million and $3.3 million as compensation, determined by private valuers and based on market rates at the time of the acquisition in 2010.

In its latest statement, SLA's spokesman said: "The deadline cannot be extended further as agencies will need to commence road realignment and infrastructure works to prepare the area for development."

When ST went down yesterday, a man from 29, Merpati Road, who identified himself only as Mr Oh, said he had lived there for "many years". Resigned, he added in Mandarin: "Move then move lor." He declined further comment.

Meanwhile, boxes were stacked on the front porch of 27, Merpati Road. One of its occupants, an elderly man, also declined to speak.

SLA said it has been assisting the occupants in their relocation efforts.

Mr Oh and his relatives will be moving to a new build-to-order flat in Hougang, while the occupants of 27, Merpati Road are in the midst of applying for a flat.

SLA's spokesman added that the authority applied to the court for a warrant of dispossession on Thursday, in accordance with proceedings under the State Lands Encroachments Act.

The warrant is a court order to take over the properties. "This has been explained to the former owners, who will try to move out as soon as possible," she added.

WATCH VIDEO ONLINE
Remaining occupants to move out.str.sg/4uEk

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 27, 2017, with the headline '3 households in acquisition dispute finally accept govt payout'. Print Edition | Subscribe