Construction works around the heritage areas are often accompanied by the critical voices of citizens and cultural heritage specialists resenting over the legal violations. However, because people are unable to get the information about the planned projects in time, their opposition is often futile.
At the moment one of the biggest concerns for communities of Vilnius is the “Special Protection (Administration) Plan for the Old Town Real Estate Heritage” which regulates the protection of Vilnius Old Town area. The concerns were also voiced by the State Commission for the Cultural Heritage. However, because Cultural Heritage Department refuses to inform the communities on time, communities are unable to represent public interest in the development of the projects.
In an attempt to address this problem, the communities of Old Town, Užupis, and Žvėrynas went to court. The hearing in the case regarding the violation of Aarhus Convention—an international legislation that ensures the right of information about the living environment—is scheduled on Tuesday, 19th August, 9 AM and it will take place at the Administrative Court of Vilnius District (Žygimantų g. 2, Vilnius). This legal initiative will create a precedent for assessing other cases of violation of the Legislation.
We invited Rėda Brandišauskienė (an Administrator of Užupis Community, lawyer, a Law lecturer at the Mykolas Riomeris University) and Jūratė Markevičienė (architecture historian, cultural heritage expert, and member of ICOMOS) to discuss about people’s right to information concerning their living environment, protection of Vilnius Old Town, and new construction developments in Vilnius.
Watch the updated video with the English subtitles:
UPDATED 19.4.2016: The conclusive court hearing is scheduled for 16:00 Monday, 9 May 2016
UPDATED 9.5.2016: Court ruling in favour of the communities. Details coming shortly.