Dear Editor

“People power” is alive and kicking in the Algarve, I think one of your recent stories proclaimed, and, I must say, nowhere is it more punchy than the beautiful old town of Olhão.

Since your last story about the upset over redevelopment plans of the historic centre, I count myself delighted to have been one of 1,790 or so people who have signed a very valid petition, calling on the council not to “destroy the character” of the charming cobbled centre.

The petition was raised by a man who lovingly invested in his house, to discover architectural whimsy had decided to construct a 21-metre viewing tower right in front of his front door when a perfectly decent viewing tower has existed a few yards down the road since the 17th century. Fortunately, the strength of feeling by locals of all nationalities seems to have got the mayor back-tracking, and pledging to do away with the tower altogether in whatever the council eventually decides.

What this warming little cameo does prove, sadly, is that if only people elsewhere had had a bit more gumption, perhaps we wouldn’t be faced today with the concrete monstrosities and unbearable hideousness that have indelibly destroyed other once charming town centres.

I am thinking particularly about Albufeira, but really it is everywhere.

Walking on the beach near Lagos not long ago, my three-year-old grandson turned towards the town and proclaimed “look granny, New York!”

It is time for everyone to take a stand against blind restoration plans.

Yours in hope,
Ms. M. Carter
By email


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