COMMON PRESS RELEASE OF ATELIÉR PRO ŽIVOTNÍ PROSTŘEDÍ (STUDIO FOR THE ENVIRONMENT), ARNIKA, OBČANSKÁ INICIATIVA PANKRÁCE (CITIZENS INITIATIVE OF PANKRÁC) AND PANKRÁCKÁ SPOLEČNOST (PANKRÁC ASSOCIATION) - Reconstruction of the road network in the Pankrác plain possibly will not be as quick as assumed by the investors (1). Today, Ateliér pro životní prostředí filed an action against the decision of the Ministry of Local Development which confirmed planning permission of the Prague Metropolitan Authority. The Ateliér requires that the issued planning permission be0 cancelled, and the traffic project discussed again. Ateliér pro životní prostředí, together with Občanská iniciativa Pankráce, Pankrácká společnost and Arnika Association, is afraid that the present project is bad. It should serve only commercial interests of investors of the skyscrapers and the shopping centre, but it does not take into consideration inhabitants of Prague 4 who would be affected by further increase of exhalations and noise caused by car traffic.
„Proposal of the new traffic solution of the Pankrác plain favours needs of the proposed shopping centre Arkády and of further shopping and administrative buildings, including the not yet existing high-rise buildings, to needs and legally protected interests of the local inhabitants, as well as a desirable quieting of traffic on the north-south trunk road. The action against the planning permission was filed especially because of these reasons,“ summed objections of the citizens associations legal representative of Ateliér pro životní prostředí, JUDr. Ondřej Tošner. „In the action, we also draw attention to the discrepancy of construction of new exits from the trunk road with the Prague structure plan, to unsuitable traffic-technical solution of the structure, or to increases of noise and emission burden in the area,“ explained Tošner. According to him, a big problem is also the fact that environmental impact assessment (so-called EIA), necessary according to the law, was not submitted in the proceedings.
According to the chairwoman of Občanská iniciativa Pankráce, Marie Janoušková, the basic problem is the absence of a regulation plan setting the maximum possible level of burden of the territory from the point of view of car traffic, and the limit of height of new buildings. „The biggest car park in the Czech Republic should be constructed in the Pankrác plain, having approximately ten thousand parking places, which should serve exclusively to traffic servicing of the new buildings. Deficit of parking places for cars of the local inhabitants is not solved. Together with completion of development of the Pankrác plain and adjustment of the road network, cutting of six to seven hundred of trees and shrubs is planned, which will not be sufficiently replaced in Pankrác. The traffic solution project is so controversial that it cannot be agreed with,“ said Janoušková.
Representatives of the citizens associations agree on that they regard the action against the decision of the Metropolitan Authority and the Ministry of Local Development as an utmost solution. „We used our arguments repeatedly both in the administrative proceedings and in numerous negotiations directly with investors of structures in Pankrác. Unfortunately, neither the authorities, nor the investors, took our proposals into consideration or took them into account in the projects and in the issued decisions,“ said Martin Skalský from Centre for Citizens Support of the Arnika Association. „If inhabitants are systematically neglected both by the state authorities and the investors, we do not see any other possibility than to apply to the court,“ added Skalský. According to him, if the court cancelled the issued permission, it would provide a possibility of further negotiations, because, probably, the project would have to be remade completely.
Some of the objections of the citizens associations were confirmed earlier by the Public Health Station of the Capital City of Prague, and the Department of the Environment of the Prague Metropolitan Authority, in their statements. Both these authorities stated in basic documents for proceedings on planning permission that the present situation in Pankrác is contrary to the legislation - due to car traffic, legal limits for noise, as well as exhalations, are all being significantly exceeded. While the citizens' associations conclude from this that it is necessary to quiet the traffic, the state authorities, to the contrary, illogically approved the proposed new traffic solution. Although reconstruction of Pankrác roads will increase the traffic burden even more, both authorities allege that it will improve the bad environment.
Within the framework of the proceedings on planning permission, the investor filed the identical project of traffic solution three times; the dispute on adjustment of roads in the Pankrác plain has been conducted since 2002 already. (2) The Ministry of Transport repeatedly expressed its opinion that it does not agree with the proposal of the new traffic solution. The Ministry of Local Development refused the proposal twice, and it approved it for the third time. Afterwards, the citizens associations did not have another possibility than to apply to the Municipal Court in Prague with a proposal to cancel the issued decisions.
1) Investor of the „Traffic solution of the Pankrác plain“ is the company ECM Finance, joint-stock company, which is a subsidiary company of the company ECM. At the present time, ECM, besides the company Rodamco Europe, is owner of the highest area of land in the Pankrác plain (it owns both the building of the former Motokov - today City Empiria, and the former building of the Czech Radio - today City Tower). In addition to reconstruction of the former building of the Czech Radio, the company ECM wants to construct two further controversial buildings (so-called City Epoque) in the Pankrác plain.
2) Department of Territorial Planning of the Metropolitan Authority of the Capital City of Prague (3) issued a permission for reconstruction of the road network in the Pankrác plain in November 2002 for the first time. After appeal of the citizens associations, it was cancelled by the Ministry of Local Development in April 2003, due to a whole number of both procedural and factual mistakes, non-compliance with the construction decree, and increase of noise and exhalation in the area. The second planning permission was issued by the newly established Building Department of the Metropolitan Authority in September 2003. Because the proposal of the traffic solution remained the same - the authorities only eliminated the formal defects - the citizens associations filed an appeal again. The permission of location of the structure was again cancelled by the Ministry of Local Development, in March 2004. The third planning permission was issued by the Building Department of the Prague Metropolitan Authority in March 2005. However, this time, the Ministry of Local Development confirmed the decision of the Metropolitan Authority (in November 2005).
3) Department of Territorial Planning of the Metropolitan Authority of the Capital City of Prague was cancelled in September 2003, and its competencies were transferred to the Building Department of the City Part Prague 4. Afterwards, a new Building Department was established in the Metropolitan Authority. In the case of particularly big and important structures, the Building Department of the Metropolitan Authority of the Capital City of Prague may reserve dealing with them, and take them over from the Building Department of Prague 4 - this happened also in the case of traffic solution of the Pankrác plain.