Channel NewsAsia

Better compensation for land-owners affected by Thomson-East Coast Line development

This is due to recently passed amendments in Parliament that saw the removal of the "betterment levy", a fee previously imposed on the compensation a land-owner gets.

SINGAPORE: Some property owners affected by land acquisition from the development of the Thomson-East Coast Line can expect better compensation. Property analysts say this is because of recent changes to the Land Acquisition Act.

Amendments passed in Parliament last week (Aug 5), saw the removal of the "betterment levy" - a fee imposed on the compensation a land owner gets. This fee is equivalent to the rise in value of the area around the acquired land as a result of developments.

Six landed properties along Amber Road, and a three-storey apartment along Tanjong Katong Road will be acquired by the Government, to make way for construction of the eastern part of the Thomson-East Coast Line.

The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) says all efforts have been made to minimise land acquisition. SLA's Land Sales and Acquisition Director Thong Wai Lin: "So far we are acquiring only for the Thomson-East Coast Line this portion of the eastern region line we're acquiring 24,136.4 sq m, the bulk of it is from Laguna Golf and Country Club. So, about 6,480 sq m are from the residential, and industrial properties, and we're only affecting 15 residential properties, nine strata units, and six landed properties."

Laguna Golf and Country Club says authorities started engaging them about the acquisition since April this year. The Club says none of the holes are affected, and believes the new MRT Line will be a boost for members, guests and staff.

Affected residents have been served notices by the Singapore Land Authority. Many say the notice came as a surprise. One affected landowner, Mr Sim, told us he was "heartbroken": "I spent the last 50 years on this business and now they ask you to move, you have to do so."

Property analysts expect affected owners to be well compensated. Said Mr Desmond Sim, Head of Research at CBRE Research: "The thing about land acquisition is that the new law that has been passed, is that it allows land acquisition to be on full market value. They have disregarded the reduction of the betterment value. So I think those people affected by this land acquisition will be better compensated going forward."

Next month, the Singapore Land Authority will meet with affected land owners on the submission of claims. They will know the compensation award in six months.