Torroella de Montgri – hell bent on destroying history

The house across the walkway from us has been the subject of speculation for a few years now. It was for sale about 2 1/5 years ago (way over priced) when we had the builder here doing the wall. The interior was restored in 2001 and it was very modern on the inside – open spaces, etc. So when we heard rumors that a builder had bought it and the house next to it (which actually -was- a bit of a wreck), I immediately went to the town hall to inquire about the plans. Apparently, at that time, no one had inquired about anything. So we put it all down to rumors and forgot about it. For a while.

Fast forward to 2006, when rumors started up again that the 2 houses had been sold by the bank at a cheap rate back in 2005 to a builder who was going to knock them both down and build flats. Oh goody. The house was going to be knocked down in September, the rumors stated. But September came and went and it was still there. We had hope that the rumors were wrong. More speculation came when they replaced the street lights on our road and erected a temporary pole to house the streetlight that would have been on the House in Question. But we still, stupidly, thought that perhaps it was because someone was going to do up the outside of the house and sell it on. See – by this time the housing market had become sort of slow in town. There were tons of flat being built, but instead of being sold before the first brick was laid, they still had for sale signs on them months, sometimes years, later. Steve and often lamented on the various old building that were knocked down to make way for new, modern, -empty- flats in Torroella.

When we bought our house, we were told that there were strict rules on the buildings within the old city walls. And given a list of them. But apparently, the mayor of the town, Carles Negre i Clos, doesn’t appear to enforce these rules: white plastic front doors on 200 year old houses, garages with metal garage doors, arches destroyed to make way for said garages, and perfectly good houses being knocked down to make way for crappy, modern flats.

Which brings us to today. When I looked outside the window of the kitchen and saw this:

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Doesn’t much look like a machine that’s going to restore a house, now, does it? And it didn’t.

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So you might say, well, look at the house. It was pretty ugly. It had graffiti all over it. What an eyesore! Good riddance! But no – this house has history. This house has withstood the wars and turmoil that Catalunya has lived through. It survived the Franco years when many other houses and people didn’t. It was also probably one of the few houses left in town that still has a garden. But even surviving against odds like war, famine and political turmoil – it can’t survive the greedy pockets of builders and politicians of 2007. Another piece of history of the town of Torroella de Montgri – destroyed in a day’s work.

How sad. And how sad that no one knew. No one is informed of what goes on in this town, when buildings are demolished to make way for flats that won’t be sold. Is this progress? I mean, heck, why don’t we just bulldoze the entire town and make cookie-cutter barrett homes in a neat li’l grid? Then we don’t have the problems with parking or lack of garages. We also won’t have history, or individuality. But that’s progress, isn’t it?

The town hall elections are coming up in May and I’m pretty sure, as a resident, I can vote in local elections. And I certainly won’t vote for a political group and mayor who confuse regeneration and demolition. They are not one in the same.

One Response to Torroella de Montgri – hell bent on destroying history »»


  1. Comment by Bernard Clark | 2007/05/12 at 07:52:56

    Great stuff. I have been coming to Estartit for over 20 years but the place is now just a building site.Where the Univers hotel is they are digging out a huge hole for presumably a car park . My friend who is a structural engineer in the Uk cannot believe that they have not put in a holding structure for the buildings on either side.
    What about the concrete monstrosity on the mountain above the Mont pla restaurant there is no point in protecting the wildlife and Medes Islands if buildings like that are allowed. Negre should go to Assisi in Italy to see how a mediaval town should be preserved.
    Bernard Clark

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