Tiong Bahru is losing some of its favorite shops

A recent Business Times story announced that Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore (URA) has asked several ground floor businesses in Tiong Bahru to move out, after continued neighbor complaints about increased traffic and footfall. Before you argue that TB’s bars and restaurants create far more of a crowd than the shops, there’s unfortunately a legal issue, too: It turns out that many of these businesses are operating commercially in residential spaces. 

One of the affected businesses is the much-loved Nana and Bird who will be moving out at the end of the month and is currently holding a moving out sale. They are currently looking a new store space. Ten-year old salon Hui Aesthetics closed on Apr 30, and homeware store Bloesem has also vacated.

A business owner, who wished to remain anonymous, told us, “As a small business operating peacefully in the neighborhood, we had not caused any of the disturbances like vehicular traffic or noise level increase, unlike our F&B neighbors. As a resident of Tiong Bahru myself, I am gutted to see so many small business leave as they add to the flavor of the estate, not to mention convenience.”

For the URA, on the other hand, it’s not a simple matter of which type of business causes more disturbance and vehicular traffic. A spokesperson told us, “It is not a deliberate exercise to target authorized businesses in this estate. As the premises are intended to be used for residential purposes and the uses have created disamenity to the neighbourhood, we have taken enforcement action on them.”

We admit we’re sad to see some of our savorite shops go, but it’s hard to argue with zoning, we suppose.