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Penang Gerakan Urges State Govt Restore Runnymede

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GEORGETOWN – Penang Gerakan wants the state government to restore back the Runnymede ancillary building for its significant historical value after it was demolished on Feb 9.

Gerakan Bayan Baru chairman Teh Leong Meng said the Runnymede was categorised as category II heritage but the demolition was carry out based on the 17-year-old planning permission.

He said the state government must take the responsibility to restore back the buildings as it carried significant historical value as a home for the founder of Singapore, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles.

“The planning permission for the project was granted in 1999 but how can the demolition of a heritage building be based on an outdated and lapsed 17-year-old planning permission be allowed by Penang Island City Council (MBPP),” he said after visiting the site here today.

He said according to Penang Structure Plan 2020 that was gazetted on June 28, 2007, any planning permission can only be extended for five years and any construction work must be completed within five years.

During the recent Chinese New Year break, landowners cleared the 208-year-old Runnymede bungalow where former Penang governor assistant secretary Sir Stamford Raffles had lived.

The bungalow, along with six other buildings, was cleared out which currently only left the three-storey hotel annexe, built in 1930.

However, Penang State Liason Committee member H’ng Khoon Leng said state exco Chow Kon Yeow and the MBPP should provide a remedial plan for the Runnymede demolition debacle.

“Those who flouted the law, including the developer and the people allowing the planning permission, must be severely punished to ensure such work without approval is not repeated,” he said.

The Runnymede building was built in the 19th century and has a remarkable history, as it was the home of Stamford Raffles when he was the assistant secretary to the Penang Governor, Phillip Dunlas, before he became the founder of Singapore in 1819.

The Runnymede was named after the English field on which King John of England signed the peace treaty known as the Magna Carta. – BERNAMA

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