Right of Reply of Orleans City Hall

Following the article entitled "A New Feudal System" by Mr. Didier Rykner, and in keeping with the freedom of expression he defends, Orleans City Hall would like to make some corrections and reestablish the truth.

Mr. Rykner evokes the so-called disdain of mayors for judicial rules. He obviously is not abreast of these as concerns the installation of these flowering columns. These temporary elements of urban fixtures do not require any authorizations other than those of the owners of the façades in question. In fact, all of them agreed to the installation of these flowering columns which are particularly appreciated by the residents of Orleans.

On another point, as concerns the rue des Carmes, City Hall has won every time in court over the last four years. Just recently, according to a decision of the Tribunal Administratif dated 2 April 2013, the character of public utility of the project for widening the street was validated by the judge and the ministerial order essentially cancelled, by the judge as well, as per the request of City Hall. Who is in fact scorning these legal decisions ? The mayors or Mr. Rykner ?

Mr. Rykner has also accorded himself the right to predict the next municipal elections in Orleans by writing that "Serge Grouard... might unfortunately be reelected". Even if this were the case, does this mean that Mr. Rykner is as disrespectful of democracy as he is of justice ?

Finally, Mr. Rykner’s statements will not find an echo in Orleans. Its residents and visitors have witnessed Serge Grouard’s commitment day after day for the last twelve years, along with that of his municipal team and the employees of Orleans City Hall, to the heritage of their city. The renovation of the façades with timber-framed walls, of listed monuments such as the former bishopric, the hôtel Dupanloup, the château de la Motte-Sanguin, the Hardouineau library, the creation of a Zone de Protection du Patrimoine Architectural Urbain et Paysager, are all examples of the initiatives carried out by Orleans City Hall in close collaboration with the State itself. How can we speak of indifference ?
This work to restore the heritage speaks for Orleans’ importance, a city which welcomes more visitors every year and is the pride of its inhabitants.

Mr. Rykner is a distant commentator on a region which he apparently does not know very well. He should return to Orleans, unless he is afraid he might fall under the charm of a land which evolves harmoniously with its history.

The original communiqué may be seen here.

Our right of reply to this right of reply :

Rue des Carmes in Orléans
Photo : Didier Rykner

Mr. Grouard has not read my article correctly or pretends not to do so : my editorial in no way states that, in the case of the rue des Carmes, he ever lost in the courts or that he would not respect their decisions. Thank goodness that, at least for the time being, he has not demolished these buildings which he is not allowed to touch. I was simply expressing my concern at his obsession about obtaining the demolition permit for a section of an old street in the ZPPAUP, and, above all, the danger of attaining his end by obtaining from an often failing State - the core of the article - something which has always been denied him. The demolition permit having been refused by the Architect for the Bâtiments de France, Mr. Grouard no doubt is planning to request it over and over again until he gets him or his successor to agree, in exactly the same way he obtained the "Déclaration d’utilité publique", refused the first time (see news item of 22/11/10, in French), but finally granted (see news item of 28/02/2012, in French).

As concerns the rue Jeanne d’Arc, we already demonstrated in our first article (see article, in French)that the construction work permit for listed monuments was compulsory, contrary to Mr. Grouard’s claim. This is the opinion of the Direction Générale des Affaires Culturelles and of the Prefect of the Loiret region who, as we pointed out, in a letter dated 3 June 2012 reminded him that this project needed "the agreement of the administration for historical monuments" and more generally a "special authorization for the ZPPAUP". An agreement and an authorization which have never been requested or granted.
We are perfectly coherent with our denouncement : Mr. Grouard is ignoring, in this precise case, the rules of the zoning code and the State, represented by the Prefect of the Loiret, though acknowledging that he is acting illegally is allowing him to proceed.

Mr. Grouard boasts of certain achievements for the heritage of his city. He is right to do so and he must obviously have noticed in my article dated 28 February 2012 that I wrote : "There is no denying that a non-negligeable part of the city of Orleans has been restored in a very satisfactory manner, by recovering the 16th and 17th century façades under the plaster." However, I asked : "Why would past restorations excuse city hall for its demolition project ?" The question still stands.

Two houses have been listed as historical monuments. This is a fact. Mr. Grouard’s obsession with aligning the street when he can no longer destroy nor move these houses is no longer logical - if it ever was - unless we could suspect him of more devious intentions, which we refrain from doing. The evolution of the city of Orleans is being carried out in harmony with its history, says Mr. Grouard. Too bad that for the rue des Carmes he has chosen a page recounting its darkest hours.

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La Tribune de l’Art, samedi 25 mai 2013

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