Something is wrong with the way this country looks after its ancient monuments. The loss due to an unexplained fire early this week of Loulé’s beautiful 18th century palace was, to my mind, unpardonable. We have so many authorities here. Just try and put a window into a solid area of brick wall, or a skylight into an old roof and you soon discover how many authorities have to waste weeks debating on whether or not they can possibly allow it.
Yet when there is something beautiful, iconic, historic, architecturally in a tiny class of its own, what happens? No one does a thing! The council bleats that the building isn’t its responsibility, environmental groups ‘lament’ (having done absolutely nothing in this case for years), the owners are demonised in their absence for wanting to build an urbanisation that ‘is not permitted’ and ‘drug addicts’ are saddled with all the blame. This is not right.
Despite the crisis, far too much money sloshes around the corridors of power promoting hideous exhibitions and ludicrous initiatives. Where was the concern for this palace before Tuesday’s fire? If it hadn’t burnt down, the building would have been left to rot as it has been anyway for years. There is so little left of real quality in the Algarve, I hope all the authorities that rake in funds to protect this, that and the next thing are feeling extremely ashamed of themselves – and let’s watch to see if the ancient building’s ‘almost complete destruction’ will mean that the “British fund” that owns it suddenly gets the building permission it requires!
Yours in disgust
Name and address withheld