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Noise complaints prompt closure of Bedok street soccer court, prompting public discourse

The closure of Bedok’s Block 422 street soccer court, prompted by noise complaints and potential repurposing, has ignited diverse reactions.

Online users express disagreement, suggesting compromises, while others welcome the decision, highlighting community considerations. The discourse reflects the challenge of balancing community needs and fostering a cohesive neighborhood.

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SINGAPORE: The recent temporary closure of a street soccer court at Block 422, Bedok North Road, due to noise complaints has stirred the attention of Singaporean online users, sparking discussions on the loss of community spirit nationwide.

The street soccer court in the Garden Hill estate around Block 422 has been temporarily closed as the Town Council considers repurposing it into a “more versatile community space” for broader resident enjoyment.

According to the notice, residents are encouraged to utilize the courts and facilities at Heartbeat@Bedok, an integrated community center nearby, during the temporary closure prompted by noise complaints.

The concerns about the “inconsiderate usage of the street soccer court late into the night” were outlined in a notice issued by Mr Tan Kiat How, the vice-chairman of the East Coast Town Council and Member of Parliament (MP) for East Coast Group Representation Constituency.

While the notice does not specify the exact timing of the alleged late-night disturbances, it is understood that other sports facilities, such as basketball courts or play areas, typically have their lights turned off between 9 pm and 10 pm daily.

Mr Tan’s decision to close the Block 422 street soccer court was made public two weeks ago (12 Dec) through his personal Facebook and Instagram accounts, where he shared resident feedback about disruptive late-night activities.

In response to the concerns raised, Mr Tan took steps to address the issue, requesting increased police patrols and actively involving the East Coast Town Council.

His multifaceted approach included temporary closure, urging community input, and contemplating the repurposing of the space for the benefit of nearby residents, particularly seniors.

The closure of the Block 422 street soccer court came to wider attention on Tuesday (26 Dec), when alternative news platform Wake Up Singapore highlighted it on its Instagram account.

Sharing photos of a physical notice from the East Coast Town Council, the post questioned the limitations on where residents could play sports, given the closure of void deck and street soccer court options.

Street soccer court closure in Bedok sparks varied reactions, unveiling complexities of balancing community needs

The closure of the street soccer court at Block 422, Bedok North Road has sparked reactions from netizens, with many expressing disagreement with the council’s decision.

The sentiments were particularly evident on the WakeUp Singapore Instagram account, where numerous users voiced their discontent.

One user proposed a compromise, suggesting that the court could be locked, and lights switched off after 10 pm.

Drawing a parallel with the courts at Bedok Reservoir, the user noted the success of this approach in minimizing noise, adding that occasional misbehavior by kids could be addressed with a gentle reminder.

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Another user questioned whether the Member of Parliament had personally engaged with the kids, suggesting a more proactive approach of offering advice as an elder sibling might.

Meanwhile, a netizen reminisced about the past “kampung spirit,” lamenting the current lack of community bonding and shared experiences, highlighting the value of educating both parties to foster a more considerate society.

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Echoing the sentiment, another user agreed that the diminishing “kampung spirit” is noticeable and expressed concern that Singapore’s cultural essence is being eroded due to increasing intolerance and a focus on individual pursuits.

Despite the prevailing disagreement, there were voices in support of the decision.

One user emphasized the importance of considering the impact on residents trying to rest after a long day of work, citing personal experiences of noise disturbances in their own estate.

Another resident of Block 422, commenting on Mr Tan’s Instagram post, welcomed the action taken, stating that they had previously called the police multiple times, but noise complaints before 10 pm were not considered.

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The diverse range of opinions reflects the complexity of the issue and the challenge of balancing the needs of different community members.

MP Tan Kiat How explores alternatives amid street soccer court closure

In a follow-up Facebook post on Tuesday (26 Dec), Mr Tan expressed his openness to exploring alternatives to the temporary closure of the street soccer court, stating that the town council is actively considering options to address the residents’ changing needs.

He acknowledged the evolving profiles of residents and suggested potential alternatives such as inter-generational spaces, exercise equipment for seniors, and community gardens.

“As People’s Action Party MPs, we always try our best to meet the needs of different groups of residents, across different life stages,” he added.

Responding to queries from TODAY on Tuesday, the East Coast Town Council confirmed that they had sought police assistance for increased patrols in the area.

The decision to close the street soccer court was influenced by escalating disagreements between residents and court users over the past few years.

The town council highlighted instances of “vulgarities hurled at residents, users of the court peeing in the void deck, and damaging common properties.”

Prior to the closure, Mr Tan had been actively mediating these issues and implementing measures, including engaging volunteers to communicate with court users, adjusting court hours, and locking the gates after specified times.

While the court is temporarily closed, Mr Tan and his volunteers plan to use this time to engage with various groups of Kampong Chai Chee residents and explore ways to optimize the space for the benefit of more residents.

One initiative involves championing the repurposing of the former Kampong Chai Chee Community Centre into a youth hub, allowing community spaces closer to the blocks to be repurposed for senior-friendly, inter-generational use.

The town council, in its statement, emphasized the importance of community members being considerate, stating that “being a kampung means that everyone would need to play their part in fostering an inclusive and caring neighborhood.”

TMSG highlights frustration over public sports space closures amid noise complaints

The Monitor Singapore (TMSG) posted a sarcastic comment on 28 December regarding the closure of public spaces for sports due to noise complaints, a recurring issue.

They shared a photo of a locked basketball ring with a caption sarcastically highlighting the purported efforts to promote a sporting culture in Singapore.

Under TMSG’s Facebook post, netizens expressed their opinions on the matter.

One user shared the prevalence of “no football” signs in their neighborhood, leading to a decline in children playing football in the field.

Another user sarcastically listed restrictions on various activities, urging children to stay indoors for studying or playing e-sports.

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In another comment, a user recounted the closure of a basketball court in their area due to disruptive behavior at 3 am, including the throwing of objects from high floors.

The user attributed such issues not to the government but to individuals with a poor upbringing, suggesting a broader societal concern.

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The sarcastic post and ensuing comments underscore the frustration among netizens about the closure of public spaces for sports and the challenges of balancing recreational activities with community considerations.

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