The reform of the building of the old Seminary of Huesca continues in the courts and confronts the city council with the neighborhood associations, who want to avoid its partial demolition and preserve the integrity of a building that is to be used for uses by the University of Zaragoza, among others. The Superior Court of Justice of Aragon (TSJA) has issued an appeal ruling, which refers to the one issued by the Contentious-Administrative Court of Huesca last year and which decreed precautionary measures, while not considering the possibility of requesting bail or surety to the plaintiff, Public Action for the Defense of the Aragonese Heritage (Apudepa), which has the support of the Platform for the Defense of the Heritage of Huesca.
The TSJA has admitted the appeal filed by the Huesca City Council regarding the precautionary measures issued by the Contentious-Administrative Court of Huesca in order to authorize maintenance work at the Seminary. “The necessary action must be allowed to ensure the maintenance of the buildings, as well as precautionary prevention of any action that involves the total or partial demolition of the same,” the sentence states. In recent weeks, the council has carried out specific actions of consolidation in the interior and the propping of beams in cases where it has been necessary. In addition, to protect the areas most damaged by inclement weather, waterproof tarpaulins have been placed, with anti-UV treatment and high resistance.
Instead, it has been agreed, “the suspension of any action on the buildings that involves the alteration of their physical configuration or a reduction in their security and conservation in the state in which they are found, being prohibited all demolition, total or partial in the affected set”. The judge considers “disproportionate” the request for 800,000 euros that the City Council claimed from Apudepa as bail.
Apudepa and the Platform for the Defense of Heritage celebrate a ruling that they consider “comes to recognize the central idea that the old Seminary constitutes a set of necessary protection.” Likewise, “the annulment of the economic deposit to pursue the lawsuit reveals the importance of citizen action in the defense of heritage.”
The Prosecutor’s Office recalls in its letter that both the Spanish Historical Heritage Law and the Aragonese Cultural Heritage Law determine that heritage assets, even in litigation, “must be preserved, maintained and guarded by their owners” warning that, otherwise, a “serious administrative infraction” could have been incurred.
The city council maintains, for its part, that “thanks to this recovery project, the medieval church of Santa Cruz, the oldest in Huesca and declared an Asset of Cultural Interest, will be freed from the adjoining buildings and will become a main hall to host all kinds of events. Faced with this, the citizen associations recall the resolution issued by the General Directorate of Heritage on June 28, 2021, which said that “it should be noted that the elimination of the body that today is attached to the head of the church from the north can have repercussions on its stability, given that the former is acting as a buttress in its structure”.
According to the associations, the elimination of the walls planned by the city council “could cause the collapse of the church, a possibility that the municipal area of Urbanism has ignored in all its documents. Church, by the way, dating from the eleventh century and therefore more than a thousand years old. The lawsuit promoted by Apudepa and endorsed by the Platform for the Defense of the Heritage of Huesca will continue the judicial process as of September 15, when the four experts proposed by the plaintiffs ratify their respective urban, historical and archaeological reports before the judge. to a project raised by the Huesca City Council, the Provincial Council and the University of Zaragoza.
The Seminary dates from the 16th century and was bought by the City Council from the Bishopric of Huesca in the year 2000. The church of Santa Cruz, two of its facades and the arcade of one of the cloisters do have heritage protection; not so two courtyards from the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries that will be intervened. The PSOE, which governs in a minority, had the support of Ciudadanos to reject the request to declare it a Monument of Local Interest. Thus, the work will be financed with European funds from the Next Generation program and the budget rises to 14 million euros.
The Seminar will host the vice-rectorate of the University of Zaragoza in Huesca, a scientific library and a lecture hall. It will also be the headquarters of the library of the Institute of High Aragonese Studies and will have rooms for training. There will be gardens and a viewpoint towards the Sierra de Guara and the arcades of the second patio can be seen from the outside through a large window.