The inhabitants asked politicians to refuse skyscrapers in Pankrác

6.5.2003 - Prague

Over 800 inhabitants expressed their disagreement with construction of so-called Prague Manhattan in Prague's Pankrác plain. A petition with their signatures was handed over to the Mayor of Prague and to the Minister of Local Development by the Arnika Association, together with representatives of the inhabitants of the Pankrác housing estates. The inhabitants asked the politicians to refuse the planned construction of the skyscrapers. They are afraid, especially, of an intolerable increase of car traffic and noise. According to them, office buildings and shopping centres will not solve the problem of Pankrác, which reside in insufficient public facilities.

„Within 14 days, the petition has been signed by 800 inhabitants of the Pankrác housing estates, and we are still collecting more signatures,“ says the chairwoman of the Občanská iniciativa Pankráce (Citizens Initiative of Pankrác), Marie Janoušková. „When handing over the signature lists to the Mayor, Pavel Bém, and to the Minister of Local Development, Pavel Němec, we asked these politicians to refuse construction of skyscrapers in Pankrác as detrimental, and to be responsibly concerned with the environment of the local inhabitants. “ According to Janoušková, there exists a danger of roads overloading, as well as of a significant deterioration of the environment in Pankrác, exceeding the legal limits. Construction of office and shopping complexes would also disable utilisation of the territory of the Pankrác plain for public facilities, once and for all.

„Only several years before, construction of a Central Square of Prague 4, with a town hall, library, and public facilities, as well as extensive planting of vegetation, was planned in Pankrác. Now, these favourable plans are completely forgotten due to purely commercial projects. Prague should refuse the latter projects, because they are directly against the needs and interests of inhabitants of the city,“ says Martin Skalský from the Centre for Citizens Support of the Arnika Association. „A number of permits has not been issued yet, some crucial plots of land are owned by the city, and construction has not been started yet. At the present time, there is still time to decide. It does not seem that Prague would exactly need new office complexes and a shopping centre practically in its centre.“

Also urban conservationists expressed strong objections against construction of skyscrapers in Pankrác recently. They are afraid of the Prague status as a part of cultural heritage inscribed on the UNESCO lists. The skyscrapers would seriously impair the unique and protected city panorama. At worst, Prague could be even deleted from the UNESCO list.

Petition For a Healthy Environment - Development of the Prague Pankrác Plain

Petition of the Citizens Association Občanská iniciativa Pankráce (SOIP), Prague 4
ce Občanského sdružení Občanská iniciativa Pankráce (SOIP), Praha 4

Already since 1997, the town hall of Prague 4 has promoted construction of „Prague Manhattan“ in the territory of the Pankrác plain. These plans came closer to implementation recently - a framework development project was created, projects of some of the high-rise buildings are already under preparation.

The conception of the development has not been practically discussed with the inhabitants at all, although its implementation concerns not only the future of inhabitants of Pankrác, but also the future appearance of the whole Prague. We believe that construction of skyscrapers in the area of the „Pankrác pentagon“ is the least suitable variant of use of this territory, especially for the following reasons:

- Traffic conception of the area has not been prepared. Construction of many high-rise buildings would cause significant increase of car traffic, and of noise and dustiness connected therewith. Possibly, the territory is not able to cope with further massive traffic increase at all.

- The territory has a lack of free areas, vegetation, and spaces for recreation and relaxation. The conception of „Prague Manhattan“ does not enable increasing the number of these quiet places and islands of nature.

- From the point of view of an ordinary person, the area of office building is a lifeless zone which does not bring any benefits. Simultaneously, buildings of public facilities are missing in Pankrác.

- Prague probably will not need such huge amount of office spaces. We are afraid that a number of the constructed buildings would not find corresponding use, as was the case of the former building of the Czech Radio for a number of years.

- To this day, assessment of the environmental impacts of the conception has not been carried out according to the law. We consider assessment of impacts of the individual buildings unacceptable, because it causes underestimation of the total impact of the construction on the wide neighbourhood.

- High-rise buildings „on a hill“ will impair the view panorama of Prague, they will become a new dominant structure of Prague, and, as a consequence, they will influence adversely the Prague urban conservation area.

In accordance with the programme of our association SOIP, Prague 4, we have decided to organise this petition.

In view of the fact that we disagree, for justified and substantiated reasons, with:

1. Construction of high-rise buildings (skyscrapers) in the Pankrác plain;
2. Deterioration of the environment by the possible construction in the Pankrác plain and by increase of traffic ensuring traffic servicing of the possible new buildings and with increase of noise burden of inhabitants of the Pankrác plain connected therewith;
3. Dividing of assessment of environmental impacts of construction of the all planned buildings in the Pankrác plain (EIA procedure, according to the Act No. 244/1992 Coll.) into separate partial assessments of impacts of the individual buildings separately (resulting in underestimation of the total impacts and in exclusion of impacts of certain buildings from the overall assessment) - instead, we require common assessment of all planned buildings jointly - evaluation of a common EIA documents;
4. Deciding about planning permissions, without the traffic solution of the whole area having been prepared;
5. The fact that the Department of Territorial Planning of the Metropolitan Authority of the Capital City of Prague did not inform owners of the neighbouring houses about commencement of proceedings on planning permissions, as parties to these proceedings;

We ask the above-mentioned institutions and self-government authorities (councils), to:

1. Refuse, within the framework of their competence, construction of high-rise buildings (skyscrapers) in the Pankrác plain;
2. Ensure minimisation of environmental impacts of the construction, and compliance with all pollution standards;
3. Ensure adoption of all EIA requirements into conditions of planning permissions and building permits;
4. Limit, as much as possible, increase of traffic ensuring traffic servicing of the possible new buildings;
5. Ensure compliance with noise limits, especially with respect to impacts of traffic - including all duties of administration of roads, and to ensure preparation of a traffic conception for the whole Pankrác area;
6. Ensure, without delay, assessment of impacts of the planned construction according to the Act on environmental impact assessment (EIA) - common assessment for the Pankrác plain as a whole, as a zone (with inclusion of all impacts of the planned structures in the common EIA documents), simultaneously with assessment of the impacts of the construction conception according to the Act on environmental impact assessment;
7. Declare a prohibition of construction for the area of the Pankrác plain, till conclusion of the above-mentioned common assessment of all planned structures;
8. Ensure, without delay, preparation of a regulation plan for the whole Pankrác area, and, until that time, to not issue decisions permitting new structures.


Arnika - Center for Citizen`s Support - Marek Jehlička

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