Tuesday, July 21, 2009

No To Live Music Near Homes

Source : The Straits Times, July 21, 2009

URA shelves idea after 80% of 250 who responded to survey reject plan to inject vibrancy

THE Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has nixed a plan to allow live entertainment in pubs and restaurants near residential areas, after most respondents in a public survey rejected the idea.

The plan, announced last year, was meant to inject vibrancy into landed neighbourhoods by cutting down on red tape for local business owners.

For instance, the proposed guidelines could have allowed for outlets in such areas to have violinists serenade restaurant diners, karaoke performances, and live band performances.

The URA sought public feedback before implementing the plan. But 80 per cent of about 250 people who responded to its online survey last September gave it the thumbs down. About half the respondents were residents of landed housing areas.

Many voiced fears about increased noise levels, while others felt that it could mean rowdier pubs and karaoke lounges sprouting up, leading to social problems like fights and other illicit activities.

However, other aspects of the plan, such as allowing shops selling food to do light cooking on-site, were greeted with much more enthusiasm. More than 70 per cent of survey respondents felt allowing stores to fire up the grill or steam food was a good idea, for example.

So while the ban on pubs and restaurants in residential areas having live entertainment stays, food shops can now do light cooking without having to apply for new licences.

Shops in commercial complexes such as malls will also be allowed to operate as restaurants without the need to apply for planning permission from the URA.

Such businesses will still need to apply for the appropriate licences from the National Environment Agency though, and adhere to hygiene regulations.

In a press statement on Monday, the URA said that keeping the ban on light entertainment was its way of balancing the 'sometimes opposing needs' of residents and business operators. Those living in affected areas, such as Upper Thomson Road and Jalan Legundi in Sembawang, breathed a sigh of relief upon hearing the news.

Read the full story in Tuesday's edition of The Straits Times

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