As many as 65 owners of buildings have objected to the inclusion of their premises on a list of heritage buildings in the Chennai metropolitan area.
The Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC) on Wednesday however, overruled their objections and decided to go ahead and include them anyway.
So far, the HCC has compiled two lists of 110 heritage buildings in the city that need to be conserved.
Next week, the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) will clear the first list, which has 67 buildings. While a major chunk of these structures are government buildings, there are a few private ones too.
Twenty of the buildings on this list, including the Madras High Court, Madras Club (Mowbray’s Cupola), College of Engineering Guindy, Dandeeswarar Temple, Royapuram Railway Station, Armenian Church and SBI on Rajaji Salai are classified as Grade I heritage buildings.
Grade I structures will be prime landmarks upon which no alterations will be permitted. The 65 owners have objected primarily because of this – the fear that making any alterations to their buildings will become a challenging process once their structures are on the list.
Once a building is notified as a heritage structure, the onus of repair and maintenance — often expensive tasks — will be on the property owner.
The owners will also have to preserve their buildings and will be forbidden from demolishing them.
A repair fund, as proposed earlier, for the maintenance of such buildings has not yet been created.
Once the first list, along with its recommendations and recorded objections, is approved of by the CMDA, the State government will notify it.
The HCC’s second list consists of 43 additional heritage buildings. The owners of these buildings too, will be given an opportunity to raise objections, following which the HCC will take a decision on their inclusion in the list.
On Wednesday, the HCC permitted a Grade II heritage building, St. Bede’s Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School to construct an auditorium on its premises.
The committee has also decided to inspect Central Station and its environs next week to clear the proposal for a skywalk.