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Heritage group in dispute with City authorities
Luxembourg

Heritage group in dispute with City authorities

04.06.2015 From our online archive
Heritage association “Sauvegarde du Patrimoine” has accused Luxembourg City of a lack of protection for historic buildings, claiming that what it says are the final two Belle Epoque buildings on Avenue de la Gare face demolition.

(CS/DL) Heritage association “Sauvegarde du Patrimoine” has accused Luxembourg City of a lack of protection for historic buildings, claiming that what it says are the final two Belle Epoque buildings on Avenue de la Gare face demolition.

The organisation in a statement said that houses 3 and 5 on Avenue de la Gare would be demolished to make way for a modern construction project.

While Lydie Polfer confirmed that there is a proposal for the site, the Luxembourg City mayor added that permission to tear down the buildings had not yet been granted. The City council earlier this year, however, voted not to add the houses to a list of protected buildings.

Polfer argued that the neighbouring houses had long been replaced with higher buildings. “There is no harmony left,” she said. A 1967 plan allowed construction to a height of up to 25 metres, with many of the smaller houses of the street demolished to make way for more modern constructions.

The mayor also contested that the buildings were the only two Belle Epoque houses left on Avenue de la Gare, saying that a whole block on the corner with Rue Origer was protected and listed on the “ensembles sensibles” inventory. The advantage here, she said, was that a series of houses had been protected together. 

The “Sauvegarde de Patrimoine” meanwhile has criticised the “ensembles sensibles” classification, as it allows for substantial transformation of properties as long as the exterior of the building is maintained. The association said that this did not represent historic preservation, saying that there were only around 5,000 protected properties left in the country, with more and more of them disappearing.

House 29 on Avenue de la Gare, for example, is featured on the “ensembles sensibles” list, with Polfer saying that for this property a proposal had already been filed to keep the historic exterior but replace the actual house with a modern building.

A request to list the house on the “inventaire supplémentaire des monuments nationaux” – a list of fully protected national monuments – did not find favour with the City council.

Still, Polfer defended decisions made by City authorities, saying that there were plenty of protected buildings in the capital.

For Avenue de la Gare 3 and 5, however, she said that a meeting would take place with Culture Minister Maggy Nagel to discuss the situation.