A few months ago, when conservationists launched a campaign asking the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to revise its new town planning laws to protect valuable buildings in old-town quarters, the battle was already as good as lost.
The town plan in question, which is set to take effect in the coming weeks, would allow high-rise buildings to be developed in areas surrounding MRT train stations. Several of these stations lie in the heart of old-town areas in Pomprap Sattruphai, Phra Nakhon and Samphanthawong districts.
Without legal protection, it's feared that many of the old structures _ mostly low-rise shophouses in bygone architectural styles _ will be demolished and eventually replaced by hotels and department stores as land potential changes and values soar.
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