Flemish heritage minister Matthias Diependaele (N-VA) has temporarily lifted the protection on four of the region’s listed monuments, while public enquiries are launched into the decision.
The monuments concerned are an electric crane at the Boelwerf at Temse in East Flanders; an open-air swimming pool in Ieper in West Flanders; the chimney of a former brick factory in Nieuwpoort, also in West Flanders; and, somewhat more esoteric, the protected view of the town from the Lembeek district of Kaprijke.
“Other interests or the loss of support for the listings justify the lifting of the protection,” explained Diependaele.
It is now up to the local authorities concerned to organised a public enquiry into the question of whether or not to drop the protection. The final decision, however, will be in the hands of the minister.
The crane on the Boelwerf (photo) was constructed in 1957 for the Cockerill Yards in Hoboken, and transferred to Temse when the yards went bankrupt in 1982. It was awarded protection status in 2004.
“17 years later, the context of the protected crane has completely changed and the support for its protection has disappeared, so that a lifting of the protection is imperative,” said Diependaele. But he also urged that a sustainable future for the crane be sought.
The protection of the Ieper swimming pool was lifted because it would have hampered works by the city and the Flemish Environment Company on the city’s canals.
The centre of the town of Lembeke in East Flanders is recognised as being of particular interest. The Bouchaute House, as it is known, is a particular treasure, but with development of the environs it has become isolated from its surroundings.
“That led to a loss of support for the preservation of this building within the protected townscape,” according to Diependaele.