Estate upgrading comes to Hougang

Hougang residents have reason to celebrate.

Several precincts will be eligible for upgrading in two national upgrading programmes -- the first time residents from the single-member ward are getting upgrade plans.

Announcing the plans during a community event at Hougang Community Club on Saturday, PAP grassroots adviser Desmond Choo said that six blocks in Hougang Avenue 3 -- 1, 2, 6, 7, 24, 25 -- will fall under the Home Improvement Programme (HIP), which will target problem areas in old flats such as leakages in ceilings.

In the meantime, blocks in Hougang Avenue 5 -- 320 to 328, 332 to 341 and 351 to 363 -- will undergo the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP), reported The Sunday Times.

This will comprise the construction of amenities such as covered walkways and fitness corners, according to the needs of the residents.

The nominations for these upgrade schemes were put forth by Hougang MP Png Eng Huat and the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council, which is run by the Workers' Party.

Choo, as the grassroots adviser for Hougang, supported the nominations.

The upgrading works would not have been allowed to be implemented if the constituency's grassroots adviser does not support the schemes.

Although the HIP and NRP will have to be put to a vote by the residents, Choo said he was confident residents would vote in favour of an upgrade, given their enthusiasm behind the Lift Upgrading Programme.

Upgrading in Hougang has been a contentious issue over the years with the opposition-held ward -- one of the oldest in Singapore -- being constantly passed over for renewal and improvement programmes.

Before the May national elections last year, PM Lee Hsien Loong admitted the government has to make a distinction with "the PAP wards (who) supported the Government and the policies which delivered these good things" and those who didn't.