Petition against El Corte Inglés in Porto

By Kim Schiffmann, in News · 06-10-2019 12:00:00 · 0 Comments
Petition against El Corte Inglés in Porto

An online petition against the construction of the El Corte Inglés shopping centre on the grounds of the former Boavista train station in Porto, gathered in four days nearly a thousand subscribers.

Speaking to Lusa, the author of the petition "In favour of a public garden in the centre of Boavista and no longer a shopping centre", launched on Friday (27 September), said she wanted to call for the need to prioritize the creation of green spaces in the city centre, something that has been neglected by this executive and others before him.

Sofia Maia Silva stressed that this desire is so much more evident by the number of subscribers who in just four days signed the petition. Teachers, musicians, traders and residents are among the 957 subscribers counted by 3.25pm.

For the petition's first subscriber, "it is even absurd" to think of yet another shopping centre for an area where these structures abound.

"This is not in the public interest," she added.

In the text addressed to the mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira, the creation of a public garden in the land in which it is intended to build another shopping centre, is defended.

"The Porto City Council is preparing to approve the construction of another El Corte Inglês shopping centre on the open ground of the old Boavista train station, next to the Casa da Música Metro. We claim that this space is designed to meet the need a long time felt by residents and users of this area of ??Boavista to have a green space for public enjoyment, adults and children," reads the petition.

The document states that “yet another shopping centre, also with hotel and gym facilities,” according to what was advanced in July by Councillor for Economy, Tourism and Commerce, Ricardo Valente, “is absolutely unnecessary in this area that it is already full of shopping centres, hotels and gyms".

On the contrary, "this project," thepetition points out, "will contribute to the intensification of traffic, already quite congested in Boavista, and to a further stranglehold on small businesses."

In addition, says the petitioner, the city centre, and in particular the Boavista area, "has a striking shortage of sustainable public gardens that offer an alternative to the increasing intensification of concrete and motor traffic in the city", by that a green space in the city centre "is an urgent necessity for the citizens of the city of Porto".

In this sense, these subscribers ask the municipality to prioritize this "project of public interest over the construction and privatization of public spaces, and in particular this space strategically located in the centre of Boavista".

When questioned by Lusa, the municipality informed on 16 September that, until that date, no request or project had been entered in the municipality.

On 4 July, the Council of Economy, Tourism and Commerce of Porto, Ricardo Valente revealed that the construction project El Corte Inglés in the Boavista roundabout would "be reborn".

According to the official, the Spanish group was at that time "dealing with the licensing issue", so if the architecture projects are ready by the end of the year, he believes, it is possible that construction could start in 2020.

In October 2003, Lusa reported that the Spanish company had negotiated its installation in the city for more than two years with the Porto City Council, at the time led by Rui Rio, but no agreement could be reached on the exact location.

The company intended to build its megastore on the site of the former Boavista train station, next to the Rotunda da Boavista and Casa da Música, while the municipality wanted to locate El Corte Inglés in Baixa.

Faced with the impasse that lasted for months, the Spanish company chose Vila Nova de Gaia, after "long months of negotiations".


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