Panel to appraise Mahakan fort homes

Four houses in the Mahakan community, numbers 187, 189, 191, and 193, are demolished by City Hall on Monday after the owners agreed to move out.  (Photo and video by Apichart Jinakul)

A 10-member panel will be formed to look into the historical value of the remaining houses in the Mahakan Fort Community to determine whether they should be preserved, says a source close to City Hall.

The panel will determine whether houses in the community should be preserved based on their historical and architectural value, the source said.

He was speaking after a meeting of representatives from the Mahakan Fort community, academics, representatives from non-governmental organisations and city officials who met to discuss the city's plans for the site.

The new panel will be chaired by deputy Bangkok governor Chakkaphan Phewngam and will include three representatives from the community, three from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), and another three from the Committee for Preservation and Development of Rattanakosin City and Old Town, said the source.

Apart from the panel members, three more representatives will work together to coordinate the issues affecting the community, added the source. The three will be community leader Thawatchai Voramahakun, who will represent the community, Yutthaphan Meechai, secretary to the Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang, who will represent the BMA, and a military officer who will represent the military force overseeing peace and order in area.

According to the source, the verification process will take around one month to decide whether the houses are worth conserving. Houses that do not meet the criteria will be demolished.

Earlier, Chatri Prakitnonthakan, from the Association of Siamese Architects and Silpakorn University, suggested 24 houses be conserved.

The source said the BMA is preparing to improve the landscape of the emptied area.

Meanwhile, four more houses in the community -- No 187, 189, 191 and 193 -- were demolished yesterday, the source said.

There are 29 houses remaining, and four other houses which were re-built in the community. Social activist Inthira Wittayasomboon confirmed yesterday that owners of the houses being torn down had spoken to the BMA, and they had agreed to move out.

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