Void deck railings to stop ball games

Complaints by residents prompt action by town council

Three railings, each around 3.5m long, were erected across the void deck at Block 143 Mei Ling Street last Saturday. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

A set of barriers that caused confusion among residents of a Queenstown Housing Board block when they were installed at its void deck were set up to stop football being played, Tanjong Pagar Town Council clarified yesterday.

Three railings, each around 3.5m long, were erected across the void deck at Block 143 Mei Ling Street last Saturday, leaving residents scratching their heads and wondering what they had been put there for.

One Facebook user posted a photograph of them and wrote: "(This) space, originally filled with so much potential for use and creativity, is now effectively transformed into a dead space."

The town council's public relations manager, Ms Shirley Aloysius, told The Straits Times the bars had been installed after complaints were received about football being played there. As well as causing noise, it also resulted in dirty walls and damaged light fittings.

The miscreants were told to stop playing football, as it was not allowed in the area, but to no avail.

"Upon discussion with (MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC Chia Shi-Lu) and the Residents' Committee (RC), we installed the barricades... to discourage football activities.

"We would like to encourage our residents who wish to play ball games to use the proper amenities which are available nearby."

Such bars can also be found at other multi-purpose halls and void decks in Strathmore Avenue, Mei Ling Street, Stirling Road and Commonwealth Drive. But Ms Aloysius stressed that these barriers are removable in the event of weddings and funerals, which often take place at these spaces.

Asked about some permanent barriers at the void deck of Block 181 Stirling Road, Ms Aloysius said residents had requested them.

"Residents had feedback about the inconvenience of walking to the MRT station when events were held at this location. After discussion with the RC, we put up these permanent railings to discourage (such) activities as this is the residents' short-cut route to the MRT station."

Other town councils, including Ang Mo Kio, Choa Chu Kang and Pasir Ris-Punggol, have also resorted to using removable barriers to curb the playing of football in multi-purpose halls. An Ang Mo Kio Town Council spokesman said: "It is (also) to guard against the ball accidentally hurting pregnant women and toddlers."

But Mei Ling Street resident and engineer Kero Lo, 43, said the void deck should be available for other activities such as badminton and skating. She said: "These railings may become a hindrance."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 25, 2016, with the headline Void deck railings to stop ball games. Subscribe