Over 500 complaints have been sent to the City of Liège as part of the public inquiry relating to the rehabilitation project of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Cointe memorial site, according to a recent statement issued by the city’s alderman in charge of Urbanism.
Opposition to the proposed 'Basilica Experience', a reinvention of the site as a lifestyle centre, has been growing since the initiative was chosen after a call for projects by the Basilica of Peace Foundation which was initiated in July 2021. The Foundation chose the project based on its "innovative aspects, which respected the essence of the place".
As well as a climbing wall within the basilica, the project also includes the construction of an annex to house a panoramic restaurant. It plans to preserve the choir area as a memorial space and to maintain the crypt and sacristy for the use of the Catholic parish.
One of the leading voices against the plan is acclaimed Belgian movie star and director Bouli Lanners. Lanners has joined forces with Bernard Wilkin, one of the country’s leading historians, to campaign against the plans to convert the war memorial into an upscale restaurant and climbing wall.
At the end of the public enquiry last week, the Urbanism department counted 541 letters in opposition to the planned Basilica Experience, based mostly on the impact the project would have on mobility in the neighbourhood around the site, RTBF reports.
The Urbanism department stated that a consultation meeting will be organised to discuss "all issues, particularly in terms of mobility", adding that an impact analysis on mobility in the neighbourhood will also be commissioned.