Ashton Asoke won't be demolished: BMA
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Ashton Asoke won't be demolished: BMA

Developer must get new building permit

Ashton Asoke on Asok Road.
Ashton Asoke on Asok Road.

The beleaguered Ashton Asoke condominium will not be demolished although its developer must re-apply for a construction permit within 30 days, according to Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt.

Mr Chadchart, along with his deputy Wisanu Sapsompol and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration's (BMA) director of building control, Surat Tirakul, was speaking on Thursday at a press conference on legal enforcement and offered possible solutions for the already-finished luxury condo.

This came after the Supreme Administrative Court last week ordered its construction permit retroactively invalidated.

The ruling stemmed from the developer's failure to secure a standard 12m-wide entrance to the property.

Mr Chadchart said the BMA will send the official construction permit withdrawal notice to the Watthana district office on Friday. The project developer, Ananda MF Asia Asoke Co, will then be served with the notice, as instructed by the court. After that, the company can request a new construction permit be issued for the Ashton Asoke condo.

The company has up to 30 days to submit the request, although the deadline may be extended by up to 120 days.

Mr Chadchart said the BMA had not been in contact with Ananda due to the six-day holiday, which ended on Wednesday.

The governor insisted the BMA had approved the construction permit in strict compliance with related regulations. The approval was granted as the company had satisfied all application criteria.

There was no need to knock down Ashton Asoke condo, he said, adding the tenants were free to remain in the building.

The court ruling has nothing to do with the property's main entrance connecting with Asok Montri Road, which sits on land rented from the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA), he said.

Also, the ruling is not related to any concerns about the condo's safety, given easy access to the property for fire engines in case of an emergency. The condo is also not prone to hazards that would expose it to the risk of collapse, the governor added.

The BMA would look to see if the 50-storey condo can build an alternative entrance that meets the required width via either Sukhumvit Soi 19 or Sukhumvit Soi 21.

The law stipulates that not only must the entrance be at least 12 metres wide, but it must also be connected to a public road of at least 18 metres in width.

Mr Chadchart said officials will find out if either soi was wide enough. If a new entrance has to be built, the expenses will need to be borne by the project developer, he added.

The BMA is setting up a panel to probe its own agencies involved in issuing the construction permit as well as other permits connected to the condo project.

Kulchalika Rungwara, 36, representing the Ashton Asoke condo tenants, said the tenants had no idea the project was embroiled in a legal dispute over the entrance.

She said the developer has not kept her and other tenants updated on the legal situation. She is planning to sue the company for damages.

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