STA, 21 April 2019 - The Environment and Spatial Planning Ministry rejected at the end of March the BŠP company's request for a building permit to overhaul a rundown Ljubljana stadium designed by acclaimed architect Jože Plečnik. BŠP boss Joc Pečečnik says he will not give up on the project he launched in 2007 and will press charges.
The Bežigrad Stadium is protected as cultural heritage of national importance. Its construction started in the early 1920s, but was completed only in the late 1930s.
To save it from ruin, Ljubljana joined forces in November 2007 with businessman Pečečnik and the Slovenian Olympic Committee (OKS) to turn it into a sport park.
Following years of slow progress and setbacks, the Culture Ministry said in February the plans do not entail renovation and conservation of all elements of the stadium.
It also found problematic constructing a new multi-storey building housing a hotel, a sports clinic and department stores in the proximity of the monument.
As a result, the ministry and the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage gave the plans a negative opinion, a basis for a decision on the building permit.
"We won't renounce the project in which we've put 14 years of effort, desires and money for the stadium to get finally renovated," Pečečnik told the press on Wednesday.
"To preserve its cultural heritage, we wanted to combine the old and the new in a symbiotic way as the only option to renovate Plečnik's stadium.
"The state gave up on this and many other cultural monuments a long time ago, leaving them to decay," he said at the news conference, held at the seat of BŠP.
Next week he intends to file criminal complaints and damages suits, and an appeal at the Administrative Court over the alleged interference in the building permit procedure.
He highlighted a suit against Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti and Jelka Pirkovič, acting head of the ministry's directorate for cultural heritage.
Both Pečečnik and OKS head Bogdan Gabrovec said that Prime Minister Janaz Janša had so far supported the BŠP project.
BŠP is owned by Pečečnik's company Elektronček (59%), the municipality of Ljubljana (28%), and the OKS (13%) as the owner of land.
Over EUR 12.4 million has already been invested in the project.
Both the OKS and Ljubljana remain BŠP's partners, with Gabrovec saying the OKS is hoping to get new premises for itself, various sport associations and a Slovenian Olympic Sport Centre.