Another setback for Plečnik stadium project

Ljubljana – The Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage opposes a project to revamp a rundown sports stadium in Ljubljana that was designed by Slovenia’s best known architect Jože Plečnik. The decision was made last month after the Culture Ministry annulled a previous positive opinion, Dnevnik reports on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning told the newspaper that the Bežigrad Sports Park project (BŠP) planned by entrepreneur Joc Pečečnik had received a negative opinion from both the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage and the Culture Ministry.

The ministry would not comment on how this will affect the process of issuing a construction permit.

The company in charge of the project, BŠP, filed a request for a construction permit in December 2018 and supplemented it in May 2019. The Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage gave its second consent at the end of last January.

The project had already had the institute’s consent but had to obtain it again after a demand was filed for an integral construction permit under new legislation, which was to speed up the project.

However, the Culture Ministry, acting as a supervisor of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, told the Environment Ministry last August that the BŠP project was not in line with a decree declaring Plečnik’s works in Ljubljana national monuments.

The Environment Ministry replied it was obligated to take into account the institute’s positive opinion unless the Culture Ministry annulled it.

Subsequently, the Culture Ministry reviewed the consent to find it “illegal”. It annulled the institute’s decision last September.

The ministry said that Pečečnik’s plans did not envisage renovation and conservation of all elements of the Plečnik stadium and that construction in the area of the monument was problematic.

In November 2007, the city of Ljubljana joined forces with businessman Pečečnik and the Slovenian Olympic Committee to turn the dilapidated stadium, built in 1923, into a sports park.

They set up the company BŠP, planning a EUR 253m project which would renovate the stadium in line with Plečnik’s plans. Also planned in stadium area was a new multi-storage building housing a hotel, a sports clinic and department stores.

However, the project has seen many setbacks since with its opponents demanding renovation of the stadium in its original form.

Last March, the pan-European Europa Nostra organisation put the stadium on a list of seven most endangered European cultural heritage sites.