Don’t recommend heritage status for too many sites: HC to MHCC

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Bombay-HCThe Bombay High Court suggested to Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) not to recommend heritage precinct status for too many sites at a time so as to avoid delay in framing guidelines for redevelopment of buildings in those areas.

The suggestion was made by a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sanklecha which was hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the August 14, 2013 circular issued by the civic body directing all its officers to refer proposals for redevelopment of any building that falls in the proposed list of heritage precincts to MHCC.

On July 31, 2012, the Corporation had come up with a proposed list of 41 sites to be declared as heritage precincts. The sites included Shivaji Park and Matunga in central Mumbai and suburban Chembur. The list was issued after a recommendation from MHCC in 2008.

The court had ruled that under Development Control Regulation (DCR) rules, it was not mandatory for redevelopment proposals of those buildings which have not been individually declared as Grade I and II heritage structures to be referred to the heritage committee and can be decided by BMC itself.

The bench was today hearing the matter on the issue of guidelines to be framed by the heritage committee for redevelopment of buildings in heritage precincts. The committee today told the court that it would now take the Shivaji Park area as a priority case and then frame guidelines for the other areas.

“If you (MHCC) recommend heritage precinct status for so many areas at a time, you would not be able to spare time to frame guidelines for each and every site. Then the whole purpose is defeated. Why don’t you concentrate on fewer sites at a time,” Chief Justice Shah said.