Upset with the way cluster development, slum rehabilitation schemes and other similar housing policies are marring the character of the heritage precincts, the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) has decided to intervene.
The MHCC has written to the state asking them to review the policy with respect to grade–III structures and structures within the heritage precinct. “We have asked the state to give the MHCC the power to scrutinise redevelopment proposals involving heritage structures,” said MHCC chairman, Dinesh Afzulpurkar.
Members of the panel said under the Development Control Rule, structures on the heritage list can be redeveloped under various housing schemes like cluster development, SRA policy without any clearance from the MHCC.
As a result of this, several grade–III structures and listed precincts have been demolished to make way for high rises. Recently, the BMC cleared a proposal to demolish a Portuguese-style villa, which is more than 100 years old to give way for an 18-storeyed building with podium parking.
The proposal was passed because the structure is a cessed building and can be redeveloped under 33(7).
Grade–III structures are buildings situated within 100m of a grade–I structure and are important because of their townscape. Activists said these policies threaten the distinct visual character of the city, by aiming to replace it with a skyline of homogenous high-rises.
Tall towers have sprung up around Khotachi Wadi, Carmicheal road and Marine Drive. Cluster development has taken place in Kalabadevi and Girgaum, which have plenty of listed gothic structures.