Only one out of the 23 buildings at the Shaw Studios in Clear Water Bay has been recommended for a grade one heritage listing, even though the Antiquities Advisory Board earlier decided that the whole site should be given the top grade. Nine of the blocks on the 54-year-old site will be accorded grade two historic status, eight others grade three, and five will not be listed at all as historic buildings under a proposal by an assessment panel, which will go to the full board today. The 7.8-hectare site, seen as a cradle of Hong Kong's film industry, will be turned into a private residential and commercial development with 642 flats and 115 hostel rooms under a plan approved by the Town Planning Board in November. Amid conservationists' calls for the site to be saved, the government approached the owners for talks about possible amendments to the development plan so that some buildings of higher historic value could be preserved. The owners withdrew their application for a demolition order just hours ahead of the antiquities board meeting that endorsed a proposal to give the whole site a grade one listing, pending public consultation and a final decision. In a paper to be discussed by the board today, the panel recommended giving grade one status to the studios' iconic administrative building, also known as the old Shaw House, which was designed by well-known architect Eric Cumine. Six sound stages and a colour laboratory were among those proposed as grade two historic buildings. The site is co-owned by three firms - Clear Water Bay Land, Double One and Coastline International. Coastline is a unit of the SCMP Group, publisher of the South China Morning Post . The Hong Kong Heritage Society welcomed the proposal as a move to balance development and conservation. "The experience of HoTung Gardens [a mansion on The Peak demolished in 2013] was a classic example of conservation efforts that backfired. In the present case, it would already be a major achievement if the government can convince the owners to preserve the old Shaw House. Certainly it will be even better if the owners are willing to preserve some more of the buildings," a spokesman said. Grade one status means a building enjoys outstanding merit and every effort should be made to preserve it if possible. But it does not protect against demolition or alteration.