A Sleeping Beauty

Another of my favourite things was taking long bike tours along the river splitting my home town. One of my routes took me through a quiet suburban area, which was rather upper class.

I had been biking the same route for around six years and a small villa had caught my eye. It was darkish brown, built in the early 20th century and was of Jugend style architecture. It had a large yard with a few auxiliary buildings, old apple trees and berry bushes and even a tennis court.

It had been a while since I last passed, and when I came around, I saw something alarming. The once so well kept garden was now slightly overgrown, the windows were dark and empty. I felt sorry for the place.

The villa was definitely uninhabited, but that wasn’t the most alarming part. The trees behind the villa had been hugged, the auxiliary buildings demolished and the tennis court cut in half. There was an excavator and a scaffold behind the building and a brand new house had been built where the forest used to be.

When I got home, I started researching the city detail plan and couldn’t believe my eyes. The plan for the area had been made way back in the early 1980’s. The property was split in three and there was a single family house zoned on each of the plots. The 100 year old villa wasn’t protected in any way.

I started passing by the villa more often to see what would happen with it. One evening I noticed an old person picking berries on the yard. I went to ask what it was all about and they told me that their family member had purchased the property as a plot of land to demolish the villa and build a new house for their family.

What the seller didn’t tell the family member was, that the authorities indeed wanted to protect the building and demolition wouldn’t be that easy. They had already applied for a demolition permit, but it had been rejected. The person told me that the decision would be appealed.

I gave the person my number and asked, if they could contact their family and allow me to photograph inside. They never called me back.

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