It is well known that the Government is looking for the best ways to redevelop homes that are growing older. So, when they reach their age limit, they can be transformed into new homes that meet modern requirements of quality and comfort much better. The plan includes the units leased by the Housing Board on long periods, like those on a 99-years lease. Of course, there is still time for many of these homes, but the authorities want to make sure that everything is set in place and best solutions are found before the re-development process actually begins.
Not so very long ago, the Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme was launched, giving homeowners that have older HDB flats to choose whether they will subscribe to the scheme and accept the conditions for the redevelopment of their homes, or choose a different option. Recently, concerning this particular scheme, Lawrence Wong, the Minister for National Development, stated that private developers will not be excluded from the plan if they want to get involved. However, Mr. Wong mentioned that the private developers that want to be part of this process will have to be well aware that the redeveloped homes will be made in the manner characteristic to HDB homes. Right from the start, the goal of HDB units was to provide Singaporeans quality homes at affordable prices, so the re-development program, with the involvement of private developers or not, will not stray from this goal.
But, the participation of private developers in the redevelopment scheme of some sites is not something new. They occasionally participated in such en-bloc developments that were previously selected and when their services were needed. The Minister did not provide names of such sites, but it is known that the new extension of the Holland Village, which will feature both new homes and stores, was offered for development to a private company. Another observation made by the Minister is the fact that the HDB flats chosen to be part of the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme will not be affected or held back by the Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme. This is due to the fact that the units included in the SERS scheme were already chosen and this particular scheme will affect only 5% of the total number of HDB units available.
Some wanted to know if there are any risks for Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme exercises to become a hustle and in case this happens, if the authorities are ready to face the situation. Mr. Wong answered that all scenarios are taken into account and if things don’t go according to plan, there is the possibility to upgrade the scheme, as it happened in other occasions where the situation required a different approach. He also added that the agency managed to acquire a certain degree of experience in this domain and that they will use all of this experience to obtain the best results. At the same time, the disadvantages of the procedure will be kept to a minimum.