In Prague 5, demolition work has begun on a historic villa, locals are protesting

In Prague 5, demolition work has begun on a historic villa, locals are protesting
In Prague 5, demolition work has begun on a historic villa, locals are protesting

Prague – On Monday, workers began dismantling the roof of a historic villa located at the foot of Petřín in Smíchov. The owners, hidden behind a network of Cypriot companies, plan to completely rebuild the First Republic building and expand it to the adjacent garden. Local residents are protesting against the plan, who have organized a petition and filed petitions with several institutions. Today, about 30 of them gathered in front of the villa while the workers continued their work.

The villa is located in a heritage zone. Even though the building permit talks about building modifications and an extension, in fact, according to petition co-author Vít Makarius, it will be about replacing the current building with a new one with four times the floor space. The new house is to serve as a family villa with an area of ​​1566 square meters. The petitioners are also bothered by the fact that the Prague 5 building authority did not directly inform the neighbors about the construction procedure and only posted a notice on the official notice board, which no one knew about.

According to Makarius, the Prague 5 building authority added a nearby apartment building to the list of participants in the proceedings, increasing the number to over 30 and not having to address the neighbors by letter. According to him, the entire reconstruction does not correspond to the character of the historic villa district. “We believe that the decision is not in accordance with the relevant regulations, especially those that protect the local heritage zone,” he said today.

An online petition has so far been signed by about 2,500 people, and local residents have also asked the Ministry of Local Development and Culture to review the positive opinions of the municipal department for territorial development and the department of historic preservation. In a letter on Monday, the Ministry of Culture called for the work to be stopped until the review is completed. According to Makarius, one of the neighbors also appealed against the joint zoning decision and building permit. ČTK is seeking the opinion of the municipality, which is the appeals body.

The Mayor of Prague 5 Radka Šimková (Praha 5 Sobě) said on Facebook that she called on the owner of the villa to stop work and negotiations. However, the building is held by a limited liability company controlled through a chain of Cypriot companies. The real owner is untraceable and intermediaries act on his behalf. The neighboring villa has the same owner and should remain more or less in its current form.

Prague 5 submitted objections in the construction procedure, which were rejected by the building authority. The town hall did not file an appeal after that. Building authorities carry out the so-called transferred powers of the state administration, so even if they fall organizationally under local town halls, the political leadership of local governments has no influence on their decisions according to the law.

Deputy Mayor of Prague 5 Radek Janoušek (Praha 5 Sobě) previously told ČTK that negotiations had recently taken place with architects representing the owner of the villa about a pedestrian connection from Holečkova Street to Kinské zahrady, which the owner would have built on his land.

Local residents nickname the house Schieszl’s villa after the First Republic politician Josef Schieszl from the circle of close associates of TG Masaryk. Schieszl lived in the villa. One of the petitioners is the director of the Post Bellum association and the head of the Memory of the Nation project Mikuláš Kroupa, who recalled the politician’s complicated fate during the Nazi occupation and the communist regime. Kroup described the intention of the owners of the villa as disrespect for the history and heritage of the ancestors.

This is not the first such case in this area. The year before last, similar opposition was raised against the intention to demolish a villa from the beginning of the 20th century not even a kilometer away in Nad Výšinkou Street. This villa was then owned by Valérie Haščáková, wife of Jaroslav Haščák, co-owner of Penta investment group. After intense criticism of the demolition by local residents and politicians, the villa changed hands three times, eventually ending up in the ownership of the investment group Rockaway Capital and still standing.

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The article is in Czech

Tags: Prague demolition work begun historic villa locals protesting


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