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Kamenné Square sale postponed after citizens protest

THE BRATISLAVA municipal council will probably not sell Kamenné Square, one of the capital’s central public squares, to a British investor as quickly as it intended to.

THE BRATISLAVA municipal council will probably not sell Kamenné Square, one of the capital’s central public squares, to a British investor as quickly as it intended to.

Bratislava Mayor Milan Ftáčnik pledged to propose for the sale to be postponed until the public will have had a chance to debate the issue, the Sme daily reported on October 22.

The sale is likely to be suspended after the municipal council received an open letter from activists, NGOs, and citizens demanding the authorities to halt the move immediately.

"If the sale is carried out, it will be an unprecedented intervention in the concept of public space in the city, which will in the long term seriously jeopardise infrastructural, urban, and - in particular - social development in Bratislava," the activists wrote in the letter, as quoted by the TASR newswire, demanding that the dilapidated square in the city centre should remain open to the public.

The city council was supposed to approve the sale at its October 24 session, TASR wrote.

The company interested in purchasing the square is the British property developer Lordship Real Estate, which offered to pay €1.785 million for the square. The company, in conjunction with the Tesco department store, is planning to revamp the square and build additional structures.

Opponents of the idea claim that City Hall is about to sell the site without having the slightest idea of what the investment plans of the British developer actually are.

"It will make it impossible for the public and residents of Bratislava to participate in the revamp of the space, and it will tie the hands of the local government itself," the activists wrote as quoted by TASR.

City Hall argues that most of the squares in Bratislava's boroughs need a facelift in order to meet the requirements of a European metropolis and that the neglected Kamenné Square lacks both greenery and recreational zones.

The activists claim that the current state of the square is no excuse.

"The inability of the City Hall to ensure due care for this public space by its own means can't be used as an argument for selling the site," they asserted in their letter.

According to them, the reconstruction of the square should be overseen by City Hall, with the broader public having the opportunity to participate in the process aimed at determining the final shape of the area.

The letter has been signed by representatives of associations such as Archimera, Square for the People (Namestie pre ludi), the Slovak Architects Society (SAS), international organisation DOCOMOMO, Cyklokoalicia and several architects and urban planners.

Source: Sme, TASR

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information
presented in its Flash News postings.

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