Residents and architects object to Lidl supermarket construction in Latvia

The Riga City Construction Board (RPBV) plans to finalize construction plan of "Lidl" supermarket on Kalnciema Street 38 by the end of this week. The project has received sharp criticism from the local Āgenskalns community, Latvian Radio reported on June 10.

Dana Hasana, representative of supermarket chain Lidl Latvija, said there had been two public discussions on the project. The construction would require felling of trees. The residents were able to voice their views on the construction of a new passageway and reconstruction of Kapseļu and Mensila Street intersection.

Since the beginning of the state of emergency, discussions on tree felling have been taking place behind closed doors, with no public input. Inhabitants of Āgenskalns were strictly opposed to tree felling and the construction of a large parking lot, as well as the appearance of the supermarket in general, although there were no public discussions on these matters.

Dana Hasana claims that some of the inhabitants' wishes will be taken into account.

"We have heard all of it. The draft that has been submitted to RPBV has been altered quite a bit. We have come up with exterior buildings that would integrate into the historical surroundings and ditched the idea of a facade deeper between the trees," said Hasana.

Lidl still wants a parking lot of 130 spots.

"The construction board has not had any issues to the solution we have proposed," said Hasana.

However, residents of Āgenskalns have objected. Firstly, they are dissatisfied with the lack of transparency of the construction  board decisions. Secondly, inhabitants' thoughts on the construction itself had not been asked.

Architects are also opposing the idea. Liene Griezīte, who has designed the Kalnciema Square, is against the large object in a historic wooden house environment. She says that Lidl does listen to the residents but only agree to the ideas that are beneficial for them. 

Architects say that it is high time Riga started discussion about construction of large objects in culturally historic locations of the city. Āgenskalns community has promised to file a complaint against the construction board's approval in the current circumstances, with the architecture and parking lot as it is planned now.

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