New demolition plan shocks householders in Almada

After demolition threats that continue to haunt families in the Algarve, a new shock has emerged – this time in Fonte da Telha, Almada.

Similar to the sweeping plan to ‘cleanse’ Ria Formosa of its resident islanders, the council-backed scheme for Fonte da Telha would leave 400 people, many of them traditional fishing families, with nowhere to go.

“Leaving this place would be the end of my life”, one has told national tabloid Correio da Manhã.

“I would not feel right anywhere else. This is where I was born, and where I want to die”, added Hélder Silva, 52, with the same passion of fishing communities threatened by demolition plans in the Algarve (click here).

This latest story follows a new municipal plan for the area, now in the phase of public consultation.

The €29.5 million Plano de Pormenor involves demolishing “almost all the buildings” that exist in the area known as Arriba Fossíl (fossil cliff) along Costa da Caparica, writes CM.

As in Ria Formosa, many of the householders involved are without “habitation licences” for their properties, although they have documents proving the land belongs to them and many pay rates (IMI).

The problem, for the moment, is that residents are largely unaware of what the new plan entails. They are simply aware that it threatens the lives of 400 and that a new “bairro” (neighbourhood) is envisaged with just 70 homes.

“We’re hoping that it doesn’t come to demolition”, Nuno Vieira, a resident in the area for the last 10 years, told CM. “We have not had a meeting with the council, but we know of the plan”.

Less optimistic is José Augusto Santos Silva, 68, who CM describes as “outraged”.

“There are three and four generations of fishermen living here – and they want to get rid of them! My parents were born here and I have always lived here. This is a place that has existed for more than 100 years”.

Local concerns centre on the understanding that the council may not intend to rehouse former fishermen – of which there are quite some number.

“This is not the way to treat people”, 50-year-old Adriano Galinho told the paper. “It is a form of using people up”.

For now, the future of this run-down neighbourhood awaits the results of the public consultation which closes on November 12.

Meantime, in the Algarve, scores of islanders in Ria Formosa remain on tenterhooks, still uncertain of their future after months of stalwart campaigning to save their homes.

“We’re all in the air”, leading campaigner Vanessa Morgado told us. “We know this government wants to get rid of us, and for now, a court order has made this impossible. But the government has appealed, and the courts have yet to decide on that appeal”.

Vanessa explained islanders have been canvassing support and still hope to pin Socialist leader António Costa down to a firm “yay” or “nay” over their plight.

“The regional delegation of the Socialist Party is right behind us”, she explained. “But we need to know what the Socialist Party as a whole would do if it wins the elections in October”.

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