Olhão locals are to have another chance to air their views about the proposed ‘abhorrent’ plans for the city's Historic Zone. A public meeting has been arranged with the architects Baixa Atelier who, after five years of work, are as far away from reaching a consensus as when they started.
The Detail Plan for the Historical Zone, which is under public discussion until the 28th of November, will be presented next Tuesday, November 22nd, at 18:00, in the Municipal Library of Olhão.
The session will be attended by the architects of the plan and, following its presentation, there will be a period for discussion and clarification of the proposal.
The Detail Plan of the Historical Zone of the City of Olhão is a planning instrument that will allow the Municipality to remove historic buildings and calçada pavements, install modern street furniture and lighting systems and create unnecessary and unwanted ‘artisan areas’ within the central zone and to demolish an historically important property to make way for a 22-metre viewing tower.
The consensus from the public is that these plans are a carte blanche for an out-of-touch town hall to continue its modernisation of the historic area along the lines of work already done in many squares with the laying down of machine-cut paving blocs, the installation of sharp modern lighting systems and the deliberate air-brushing of Olhao’s interesting and complex past in a bizarre scheme to become like Vilamoura or any other of the ersatz Algarvian cities ruined during the tourist boom years of the 70s and 80s.
Locals, architects and planning experts say the effect of modernising the centre of Olhão will be to deter tourism and serve only to choke off the flow of money into the city from culturally sensitive foreign investors who have been buying old properties and renovating them with little regard to cost.
The council has been attacked from all sides over its cack-handed attempt to make the city into something it isn’t and during the final days of public discussion, interested parties are encouraged to submit complaints, make observations and suggestions or make requests for clarification regarding the proposals in the plan which include the demolition of an C18th century building to make way for the 22-metre-high viewing tower in the midst of lovingly renovated historic buildings.
After the period of public discussion which ends on the 28th November, the council will evaluate and analyse the results, then publish a report. Following this phase of the plan, the final version of the proposal will be prepared for approval or rejection by the Municipal Assembly.
The plans are available online on the council’s website and paper copies of the plans are said to be available at the Town Hall but inquirers have been fobbed off with a list of increasingly-bizarre excuses.
The online plans are at:
PS Earlier reports suggested that attendees need to put their name on a list that will be vetted by the mayor. Sr Pina confirmed on Wednesday evening that the meeting is a public one and that all are welcome.
Readers of algarvedailynews are invited to read a petition to preserve the Historic Centre of Olhão and to add their name and email address. It starts thus:
"Olhão is a small city in the eastern Algarve of Portugal, with a peculiar authentic and unique architecture which kept a quite human scale.
Major attractions include the cubist style architecture of the old town which was developed through trading links with North Africa and the narrow cobbled streets using the traditional technique of calçadas.
"The municipality has introduced a plan for the renewal of the old city center which will destroy the charm and character of the architectural and urban patterns...
Hit this link to continue: