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HDB malls to cease renting out concourse lots
May 24, 2012
by Cheryl Tay The HDB plans to reduce the available space in its malls, which could affect many small businesses that operate on the ground floors. At least six shopping centres have stopped leasing out concourse lots, although 11 other complexes still allow small businesses to operate, said the HDB. However, stallholders complained that they were not provided with sufficient notice regarding the change. According to some of the owners, they learnt that fewer lots will be available only about two weeks ago, during one of the quarterly balloting exercises to distribute the spaces. "We had been given the impression that the lots were here to stay, as HDB actively revised the schemes and encouraged sellers to bid for lots," said Wong Wen Pu, 22, whose family has been selling garments at concourse areas for seven years. "We hope that they will be able to extend the lease for at least a year. Otherwise, we'll be in dire straits," he noted, adding that they could lose S$300,000 to S$500,000. Malls which have stopped renting out concourse lots include Rivervale Plaza, Admiralty Place, Greenridge Shopping Centre, Vista Point, Woodlands Mart (pictured) and Fajar Shopping Centre. The HDB insisted it had given sufficient notice to the businesses, even before the latest round of balloting. A spokesman added that the plan was to replace the concourse lots with cheaper pushcarts for "a neater arrangement", especially once the complexes are upgraded. But some stallholders do not buy the idea, as pushcarts require more commitment but offer less space for their products. Compared to concourse lots which are rented for blocks of three or four days, pushcarts require a lease period of at least three months.