STA, 4 January 2019 - Joc Pečečnik, the driving force behind the project to revamp a rundown Ljubljana sports stadium designed by Slovenia's best known architect Jože Plečnik, has not given up on the project just yet. After withdrawing a request for an environmental consent, he has filed for an integral construction permit, which is to speed up the project.
Although opponents of the project declared it dead and buried yesterday when it transpired that the investor, Pečečnik's Bežigrad Sports Park (BŠP), had withdrawn the request for the environmental consent, it seems that Pečečnik has only taken a new path to implement his plan.
Rather than pushing for the environmental consent as a precondition for a building permit, he has decided to request the integral construction permit under new legislation.
The Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning confirmed for the STA that the BŠP had filed the request on 20 December in line with the amended construction legislation that stepped into force last year.
The procedure for integral construction permit combines the procedures of the environmental impact assessment and the issuing of the construction permit. The new legislation gives the ministry full power to decide on projects, completely leaving out the Environment Agency.
The procedure must also not take more than five months, not counting the period of public debate.
Neither Pečečnik nor the Slovenian Olympic Committee, which is involved in the project along with the Ljubljana municipality, would comment on the issue today.
The news first broke as the civil initiative that has been campaigning for the preservation of Plečnik's stadium in its original form announced on Thursday that the investor had withdrawn its request for the environmental consent, a precondition for a building permit.
The initiative welcomed the decision, labelling the move a sign that the project is now dead and buried.
According to the initiative, the investor too must have realised that the project was unacceptable because it would have caused environmental damage as well as destroy Plečnik's heritage. Pečečnik, the main investor, was unavailable for comment today.
But the head of the Olympic Committee, Bogdan Gabrovec, told the newspaper Delo last December that the renovation of the Plečnik stadium was a priority for him.
"It's a disgrace for all, for cultural heritage, the state and the city. The ten-year agony over construction plans, which are now in line with all environmental standards, has become harmful. This story must be solved one way or another in this term," he said in an interview.
If the project fell through, the Olympic Committee would lose some EUR 2.5m, which would plunge it into the red and that would be a big obstacle when applying to calls for applications, he said.
Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković told the press today he was convinced that Pečečnik was sticking with the project and that the civil initiative opposing the project had jumped to conclusions yesterday.