Noise from kids playing football in Woodlands void deck 'source of significant stress' for residents

Submitted by Stomper Mohamad

This story was submitted via Web contribution form.

Should it be allowed?

A Woodlands resident said that children playing football in the void deck of his block was a "source of significant stress".

Stomper Mohamad said that it is a regular occurrence affecting the mental health of the people living at Block 582 Woodlands Drive 16.

"While we understand the importance of outdoor activities for children, the noise and disturbance caused by their games have become unbearable for the residents," said the Stomper.

"The noise levels during their games have reached an intolerable level, disrupting our daily lives and making it challenging to find solace within our own homes.

"The constant thumping of the ball against the walls, occasional damage to property, and the accompanying shouting and cheering have become a source of significant distress, affecting our mental well-being and overall quality of life."

He added: "Despite multiple attempts to address the matter with the relevant authorities, no action has been taken."

It was recently reported that because of feedback about the noise nuisance created by children playing football in another Woodlands void deck at Block 638 Woodlands Ring Road, the Sembawang Town Council put up "no ball games" signs and temporarily barricaded part of the void deck.

Many netizens were critical of the town council’s actions. Some suggested Singaporeans were becoming less tolerant.

The issue was brought up in Parliament on Jan 9 by Nominated MP Syed Harun Alhabsyi, who spoke of the importance of give and take in boosting social cohesion in common spaces in residential estates, reported The Straits Times.

“To close, barricade or block common spaces appears to suggest that there can be no room for compromise and that the redacted behaviour or activity is so abhorrent that there is no place for it at all,” Dr Harun said.

Since common spaces are open to all, it is inadvertently a melting pot for some level of disagreement, he added.

He said: “The boundaries are not so clear sometimes and it is impossible to articulate an exhaustive set of rules to the extent that all possibilities are covered.

“It takes people – young, old and of all persuasions – to engender good common sense and consideration of others to find a common ground for the use of the common spaces.”

In response, Minister of State for National Development Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said some interventions in public housing estates might seem harsh, but they are necessary to balance the interests of all residents and are not taken lightly.

Behind the scenes, town councils and relevant agencies have expended significant effort to communicate with affected parties and develop win-win solutions, he added.

Prof Faishal said a key guiding principle in the Government’s management of common spaces is that they should be kept open and inclusive.

This allows for spontaneous exchanges and citizen-led initiatives to happen, contributing towards a common lived experience, which helps foster deeper understanding and empathy within the community, he said.

He added: “In using our common spaces, we must remain mindful of the diverse needs and interests across different groups. On occasion, there are conflicts and disamenities which we have to manage, as we balance the interests of different groups within our community.”