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Prague 9 wants to demolish residential hotels, 130 people will become homeless

Prague, 14.8.2012 23:03, (ROMEA)

The Prague 9 municipal department is planning to demolish two residential hotels because the owner of the properties has failed to comply with a court order for their demolition. This is no idle threat; last year the municipality demolished a similar structure on the campus in Pod Balkánem street. The owner of the residential hotels claims the municipality has been repeatedly breaking the law, as decisions about demolition are supposed to be made by the Building Works Authority. Czech Television's online news server ČT 24 was the first to break this story.

The 130 people who live in the two structures in Prague 9 on Pod Balkánem street do not know where they will be sleeping next week. On Monday 20 August, the demolition is set to take place on the basis of a warrant. The residential hotels, which are privately owned, are on municipal land. The municipality lost interest long ago in extending the tenants' leases of the properties.

"They are obligated to remove the buildings. Because that hasn't happened, the court ordered the bailiffs to carry out its decision. We really do not want a new Šluknov in Prague 9," said Adam Vážanský, vice-mayor of the Prague 9 Municipal Department.

According to the manager of the residential hotels, Jiřina Jiránková, only approximately 35 of the 130 residents are Romani. "Various companies accommodate Romani people here, everyone works, these are not social welfare cases - these people are not on welfare. However, even if I were accommodating only Romani people here, that is no business of the vice-mayor's. He's never even been here to take a proper look at the place. The Aliens Police regularly visit our hotel, as do the regular police, and they have always found everything in order," Jiránková told news server Romea.cz.

The municipality hired a bailiff last year when it wanted to tear down one of the five structures in place. Prague 9 wants to get rid of the campus even though it is receiving approximately a million crowns in income from the residential hotels and the demolitions will cost CZK 8 million.

Jiránková said the main reason to demolish the properties is not any sort of disorder, but the interest of several developers in the lucrative land beneath them. The owner of the residential hotels claims the municipality is acting illegally, as the Building Works Authority is the authority that decides on demolitions. Luboš Procházka, a representative of the landlord, says a proceedings before that authority is a necessary precondition in this case.

The electricity generation and distribution firms have no information about the demolition, even though their permission for it is necessary. "There is another building standing behind the one they want to demolish that shares the electrical installation with it, so if that is disrupted, electricity distribution elsewhere will be disrupted as well," said Petr Holubec, a spokesperson for the PRE utility. The owner of the residential hotels has filed a constitutional complaint against the execution of the court order, but at the very least that will only delay the demolition for a few weeks.

František Bikár, Gwendolyn Albert, brf, ČT24, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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