The Hanoitimes - Building restrictions imposed to protect the ancient village complex of Duong Lam in Son Tay, about 50km from Hanoi , is said to be making it difficult for some residents.
Others complain that they receive no financial gain from living in the past.
The village complex consists of a group of five traditional northern villages with solid, low-slung houses, temples, pagodas and communal houses and walls made of laterite, a type of natural mud brick.
In 2005, the area was recognized as a national historical and cultural relic, and one year later, Son Tay Town People’s Committee passed regulations to preserve it.
Vice Head of the Duong Lam ancient village management board, Nguyen Trong An, said the preservation area covered about 150 hectares. Picturesque leftovers from the past include old village gates, ancient houses, and cultural values presented in traditional festivals and even the lifestyles.
The heart of the preservation area is Mong Phu Village , Mong Phu village gate, a temple built in 1684 and many ancient houses aged 300-400 years old.
An said that the regulations now insisted that most new buildings in Mong Phu Village must be built in the old style, no more than one storey in height, with a height of less than three metres and tiled sloping roof.
In the neighbouring preserved villages of Dong Sang, Doai Giao, Cam Thinh and Cam Lam, two-storey houses with tiled sloping roofs are acceptable as long as their designs are approved by local authorities.
However, a Mong Phu villager, Ha Thi Khanh, said that her old-style one-storey house was too small for her family of eight, so with savings and loans of about VND800 million (US$38,000), she built a two-storey house. She paid the price for flaunting the regulations. Her newly-built house was torn down by local authorities last December.
An, from the ancient village management board, said that housing demands of the 6,000 local residents of the complex of villages controlled by preservation rules was on the rise. He added that many of the homes were dilapidated.
Since 2008, about 100 households have applied to build, extend or fix their houses, but few received licenses.