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09/11/2006

Palacete Ribeiro da Cunha / carta enviada a Anthony Lanier


Dear Mr.Lanier

Following recent news regarding the possibility that you are negotiating the purchase of Palacete Ribeiro da Cunha, in Lisbon (including the architectural project of the current owner to build an hotel in the palace's gardens), we are writing to appeal to you as follows:

1. Palacete Ribeiro da Cunha is the only example in Lisbon of a neo-Arab house-garden completely unaltered since its construction in 1877. Therefore, its exterior and interior architectonic features must be preserved. The garden's rare and secular trees must be preserved, too.

2. The Palacete's gardens are adjacent to the Botanic Garden (Jardim Botânico), listed as National Monument. Therefore, the area to be protected by the Portuguese law is of 50 meters, all around the Botanic Garden, which includes the total area of Palacete Ribeiro da Cunha's gardens.

3. According to the Lisbon Master Plan (Plano Director Municipal), all gardens and green areas in the city are protected and cannot be built up - and only a small quota, of 20%, can be used for parking purposes.

4. This project - designed by Architect Pedro Emauz Silva - to build a 55-room hotel, health-club, conference room, swimming-pool and underground parking in five new blocks in the palace's gardens, is a highly questionable project. It is shocking, totaly miscast and with a construction rate largely above the admitted by Law.

5. The City Council's procedure referring to this project was not the correct one, not only in terms of poor public discussion and legal issues, but it was also clearly wrong in terms of which should be the aspirations of a historical city as Lisbon: always preserve heritage rarities, such as this Romantic period house-garden.

In view of this, we ask you, Mr.Lanier , to reconsider your purchase of the palace with this particular project.

If you are interested in developing this beautiful, historical area of Lisbon, with quality hotels and retail parks, please do so, and you can count on Lisbon and its residents' support. But the citizens of Lisbon will fight for the preservation of the Palacete Ribeiro da Cunha gardens.

We know that you made a good job in Georgetown, but Lisbon is different, as you know. We have very few green spaces, our buildings are much older, and this particular garden is part of a green-lung, essential for us. Destroyed, it could spell the beginning of the end for all the gardens around the area. And that can only be bad for all.

Therefore, Mr. Lanier, please take our appeal into consideration.

Thank you very much, and accept our best regards.

Sincerely yours,

Paulo Ferrero and Fernando Jorge (Fórum Cidadania Lx)
Carlos Moura (Quercus)
João Pinto Soares (Associação Lisboa Verde)

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