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Heritage Buildings of Kolkata

Guidelines For The Owners Of Heritage Buildings
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Introduction:

Buildings with architectural significance and historical values are considered for their preservation and conservation. These buildings playing an important role in the history of the city of Kolkata in particular and maintained properly. For this purpose it has been realised that an inventory of such buildings upon which the heritage status has been conferred is to be undertaken. Through various process and documentation stages in assistance with the Expert Committee formed by the Government of West Bengal, a list of such heritage buildings has been prepared and being up-dated regularly. The Corporation with the recommendation of the Heritage Conservation Committee has prepared a Graded List of Heritage Buildings for Grade-I, Grade-IIA & Grade-IIB which is available in this website.

 

i) What is Heritage Building?

Under the provisions of Section 2 (42A) of the K.M.C. Act 1980 the definition of heritage building has been given. The definition runs thus "heritage building means any building of one or more premises, or any part thereof, which requires preservation and conservation for historical, architectural, environmental or ecological purpose and includes such portion of the land adjoining such building or any part thereof as may be required for fencing or covering or otherwise preserving such building and also includes the areas and buildings requiring preservation and conservation for the purpose as aforesaid under sub-clause (ii) of clause (a) of subsection (4) of the section 31 of the West Bengal Town and Country (Planning and Development) Act, 1979 (West Beng. Act XIII of 1979)".

 

ii) What is Heritage Precinct?

Heritage Precinct may be defined as the neighbourhood or environs of a place or a group of buildings that share wholly or partly certain common physical, social, cultural significance worth preservation and conservation. Ambience can be defined as the quantitative, qualitative aspects attached to heritage building necessary for its appreciation of the space and viewing corridors.

 

iii) How Conservation of Heritage Building is explained?

Conservation may be defined as the process involved in the preservation of a building, precinct or artifact, in order to retain its architectural, historical, environmental or cultural significance. This term includes maintenance and according to necessity, may require preservation, restoration or reconstruction and may commonly be a combination of more than one of the above.

 

iv) How Preservation of Heritage Building is explained?

Preservation may be defined as the maintenance necessary in order to maintain the building precinct or artifact in its present state to prevent and retard further deterioration.

 

v) How Restoration of Heritage Building is explained?

Restoration may be defined as the means necessary to return the fabric to its known earlier sate (as may have existed prior to change that may have occurred by way of demolition, removal, addition etc. in contravention of the provision of the Act, the rules and regulations framed therein) by means of the removal of accretions or reassembling existing components or by the sensitive introduction of compatible materials.

 

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vi) What is the responsibility of the owner?

Every owner or occupier of any heritage building declared as such by the Corporation shall maintain, preserve and conserve it and shall not change its use in contravention of the provisions of this Act or the rules or the regulations made there under for its maintenance, preservation or conservation. Elements of the building, which are not compatible with the whole or part of the building, should be removed with the approval of Heritage Conservation Committee.

 

Standard Guidelines:

 

a) Selling or leasing out of the Heritage Property

No permission is required for the buildings which are already declared as heritage building (Refer to Graded list of heritage buildings). However the owner should mention the heritage status of the building in registered document during such transfer of property. The owner should apply along with the intending buyer jointly to KMC prior to transfer of any property for the buildings which are under considerations for declaring as heritage building for permission (Refer to the list of heritage buildings under consideration).

 

b) Undertaking new construction and/or addition/alteration within the Heritage Property

On prior approval of the Heritage Conservation Committee new construction in a heritage property may be undertaken on fulfillment of the following conditions :

i) Grade Table :
Grade Sub-Grade Permissible intervention of the heritage premises
I   No external change will be permissible. Use of the building should also be compatible with the category of the heritage building
II A Same as Grade-I for the heritage building. But new construction may be allowed in the open land within the premises in compatible manner with the heritage building. In no case new construction should obstruct the view of the heritage building.
B Horizontal and vertical addition and alteration of the building may be allowed in compatible with the heritage building
III   A plaque depicting the history of the building should be provided. Where the structure is having no architectural importance, demolition of the structure may be allowed.
Note :- The HCC would be the final arbiter of the case-to-case examination of the compatibility issue.

ii) If surplus buildable land is available.

iii) The construction shall have to be compatible with the existing heritage building.

iv) The drawings and designs for such construction shall be prepared and recommended by the enlisted Conservation Architect (Annex 'A').

v) Addition/alteration proposal shall be in accordance with the prevailing KMC Building Rules.

 

c) Demolition of Heritage Building

Normally no heritage building shall be permitted for demolition. However, on prior approval of the Heritage Conservation Committee on the recommendation of the enlisted Conservation Architect the non-significant portion of a heritage building may be allowed to be demolished.

 

d) Permission for repairing

To repair any heritage building a prior permission of the Heritage Conservation Committee is required for :
i) Restoration of façade, structure and interior.
ii) Restoration of architectural elements/features.
iii) Reconstruction of the portion which has been collapsed.
iv) Reconstruction of the irreparable portion of the building to match with the existing characteristics.

 
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