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Rent cut for Maxwell Food Centre hawkers

A petition by hawkers at Singapore’s Maxwell Food Centre has found success, with them being granted a 25 per cent rebate off their rents for a year.

They claimed their earnings had fallen by up to a half after construction work started on the Thomson-East Coast MRT line in mid-2014, followed by the closure last March of a carpark in Erskine Rd that served the hawker centre.

Nearly all the hawkers petitioned the National Environment Agency (NEA) for rental relief, and this has been granted in time for the Lunar New Year. The hawkers said there was a drop in foot traffic after the construction hoardings went up, with the situation worsened by the loss of the carpark with its 90-plus spaces, reports The Straits Times.

An NEA spokesman says the rebates will be granted to the hawkers covering the period from October 1 last year to September 30 this year.

At least 10 stalls have closed down since October.

Meanwhile, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), which the hawkers had also approached for help, has agreed to open the URA Centre’s main car park in Maxwell Rd for public use during weekday evenings and weekends.

A URA spokesman said the centre is traditionally used for parking at Chinatown during the festive period, but will now be kept open until 2021, when construction work for the Maxwell MRT station is scheduled for completion. The policy will then be reviewed.

Maxwell Food Centre has more than 100 stalls, with their rentals ranging from $320 to about $4300 a month.

A representative for the Maxwell hawkers, Richard Ng, 60, says that hopefully these concessions can help the hawkers and prevent more stalls from pulling out.

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