URA and NHB release a statement that basically states nothing

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and National Heritage Board (NHB), were called out recently, following a recent commentary published on the Straits Times.

The commentary called on the authorities to follow a set procedure to decide if potential historical sites should be preserved, or the wishes of the owners respected. One such example is 38 Oxley Road, where there is an ongoing debate to either save the site, or demolish the house.

The commentary was written by Terence Chong and Yeo Kang Shua, who are vice-president and honorary secretary of the Singapore Heritage Society respectively.

Respecting the wishes of owners might set a not-so-nice precedent where owners elect to get rid of their houses regardless of their historical significance, they feared.

Hence, the pair of Statutory Boards were forced into replying sheepishly that they hadn’t even considered the matter yet.

The statement is in 3 super long paragraphs, and can be read in full here.

We’ve done the hard work for you, and paraphrased the overly-long dronefest into the following few sentences:

38 Oxley Road is Limpeh’s house and he wanted it to be demolished.

But he neber ask for URA’s permission!

We’ll keep his wishes in mind, but because this house contains a lot of historical feelz, we’ll at least ensure that whatever’s built over it won’t be yet another shopping mall.

Anyway, people are still living there, so there’s no need to talk about this house now. Haiyo!

Also, we have a panel of experts to consult, so you heritage society people don’t need to worry about that.

Peace,
URA and NRA

They sounded kinda indignant. Also, no word on whether they’d make the process transparent.

The general public doesn’t actually have a say

At least we know the place isn’t going to be turned into some commercial development if demolished.

Also, NHB tries to get owners to preserve property which can be used for heritage purposes.

We also learned that the power to demolish 38 Oxley Road, as well as other historical sites, lies with NHB and its panel of experts.

The public can make all the petitions they want, but they’ll likely be ignored because we really don’t have a say in this. The heritage board does, though. And whether it’ll be transparent or not, they neglected to answer.

Wasn’t the entire point of the commentary to ask for transparency? URA and NHB didn’t even answer that question.

Well, that was a waste of time.

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Featured image via Gintai
With references from The Straits Times, The Straits Times