District councillors have urged the government to be more transparent in consulting the public on the proposed grading of 1,444 historic buildings. At an Antiquities Advisory Board meeting yesterday, members of the Central and Western District Council complained that they were unclear about the upgrading and downgrading of some historic buildings. They also urged the board to consider giving stone walls a historic grading. The councillors had been invited to comment on the proposed grading of 1,444 historic buildings, announced in March. District council vice-chairman Stephen Chan Chit-kwai said council members were not informed of the reasons behind changes in the designation of historic buildings. He said some owners of historic buildings had not even noticed changes until they were approached by reporters. Councillor Chan Choy-hi said: 'The consultation lacks transparency. Residents were not told of the new gradings.' He asked the government and the board to hold public forums, release more details about the reasons behind gradings and set up a mechanism under which residents could raise objections. Board chairman Bernard Chan said the gradings were just proposals and could be changed after public comments received in the four-month public consultation were consulted. Development Bureau deputy secretary Janet Wong Wing-chen said residents who opposed a grading should write to the board with their reasons and evidence. But Chan Choy-hi said: 'It's difficult for an ordinary resident to find literature or figures to prove a building's history. The board should take into account the oral history offered by residents.' Another councillor, Nelson Wong Kin-shing, said the old trees growing on stone walls were unique features of the district, and urged the board to consider grading them. But the board said the planned tree office would be a more appropriate mechanism. 'Only grade-one stone walls will be protected. Grade-two and grade-three structures can be demolished,' Bernard Chan said.