Building project causes controversy in Portimão

By PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]

Residents living near the São Francisco Convent in Portimão have voiced their concerns about the proposed construction of a new building in the area and are even considering taking the matter to the EU.

The proposal for Sítio de São Francisco, Estrada da Rocha, “has irregularities regarding the Municipal Master Plan (PDM)” claim the residents.

They also say that the law applied to that area only allows buildings of three floors in the highest part and four floors in the lower part.

“This new project will have five floors in the highest and six floors in the lower area, which corresponds to the construction of an extra two floors, which is not legal based on the PDM that is established for the area,” said one resident, who asked not to be named.

“There has not been any change to the PDM for this area by the Portimão Câmara until now. I assume, therefore, that the order should remain the same in respect of the height allowed for the area.”

The residents have contacted the Câmara to try to find out the reasons and basis for these changes, particularly as they say the height of buildings constructed in that area are governed by the height of the façade of Convento de São Francisco.

They also claim that the chimney of the former sardine factory Fábrica Facho is “an architectural element of the historic character of the city of Portimão and will lose its presence and relevance in the riverside area. It will be engulfed by the height of the building”.

The residents have asked for the reasons behind the approval of the project, as they say it should follow the same Technical Office of Planning and Urban Design that has already seen similar projects rejected before.

They also claim that they were informed that the project had been approved despite the complaints they made, which received no response from the Câmara.

Another source said that the residents are planning to seek the help of a lawyer and may even take the matter to the attention of the EU.

IGESPAR, the Institute of Architectural and Archaeological Heritage, has also previously rejected similar projects in this area.

A spokesman for IGESPAR, told the Algarve Resident that it had approved the project based on the Câmara’s documentation, which followed the legal parameters.

The proposed building will have 41 one bedroom, five two-bedroom and three three-bedroom apartments built on a 4,970 square metre plot.

A spokesman from Portimão Câmara told the Algarve Resident this week that the Câmara was at present unable to comment on the project.

Do you have a view on this story? Please email Editor Inês Lopes at [email protected]