Olhão’s campaigning blog hints at property scam as yet another ancient building “is allowed to collapse”

Campaigning blog Olhão Livre has reacted to the collapse of “yet another ancient building” in the town’s historic centre suggesting town hall bosses are turning a blind eye to crumbling properties, on the basis that their demise can mean much richer pickings in the not too distant future.

Writer António Terramoto alludes to the fact that property owners are allowed to leave buildings to abandon, so that they can be signed off for demolition to make way for the construction of “concrete monstrosities” “designed by friends of the regime in Olhão, some of which are also the bosses of estate agents, engineer’s offices and architectural practices”.

He goes so far as to claim that certain estate agents have the “effrontery” to sell buildings in danger of collapse “with guarantees of new rehabilitation projects, to be approved by the town council, which involve demolition and adding more storeys”.

Terramoto’s point is that much more should be done to preserve the ancient town’s historic buildings than slapping absentee owners with 300% IMI rates tax – due to come into force next year.

But for a corner of Rua 18 de Junho it is already too late.

The long-uninhabited building fell apart spectacularly on Wednesday evening after heavy rains.

Its end was caught on camera and can be seen on Youtube (click here).

Explains Olhão Livre: “It was expected for years”.

Stonework had recently been falling off the building and an adjacent property, and local firefighters were very aware of the situation before being called back by neighbours who noticed large cracks opening up across the building’s frontage.

This way, the collapse caused no victims – although an Art Deco building next door was damaged – as the road around the building was already cordoned off.

But much more to the point, says Olhão Livre, is why the building was not properly classified as municipal cultural heritage.

If it had been, it would “certainly not have got into the state it reached” before crashing to the ground in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The collapse, warns Terramoto, could incite a new race for buildings at risk, seeing them fall into the wrong hands, thus depleting Olhão’s vanishing legacy of beautiful old buildings.

Olhão mayor António Pina has told reporters already that it is “probable” that what remains of the building will have to be “completely demolished”. A call from the Resident for an appreciation of Olhão Livre’s text has not yet been answered.

Meantime, the owner of the Art Deco property damaged by the collapse has told Correio da Manhã that the bill for repairs will be “at least three or four thousand euros”.

[email protected]