VIDEO – The Catholic University of Lille completes the destruction of the Saint-Joseph chapel with shovels. The last appeals of the association Urgences Patrimoine have just been rejected by the courts which condemns it to pay for having wanted to save the building.
Gnawed on all sides, the remaining skeleton of the Saint-Joseph chapel collapsed in blocks in a great crash under the onslaught of the excavators. A few days ago, the building built by the Jesuits at the end of the 19th century stood majestically in the Vauban district in the heart of Lille. The spectacle is heartbreaking for some Lille residents as well as for heritage defenders who have worked to the end to avoid this destruction. Like the Urgences Patrimoine association, chaired by Alexandra Sobczak, which has just experienced new abuse.
Heritage emergencies ordered to pay 1,000 euros to the State
While the first excavator offensives began on February 10, Urgences Patrimoine was putting its last hopes in new appeals filed with the Council of State and the administrative court of Lille which was to receive it in hearing on February 18.
The two instances finally found him wrong, on February 18 and then on February 19, the day on which the administrative court thus ordered the association to pay 1,000 euros to the State to reimburse the costs it had to incur in the proceedings. referred. “It’s just outrageous. This condemnation, for a citizens’ association like ours which does not benefit from any public subsidy and which has less than 10,000 euros per year to operate is really the sign that they want us to disappear ”, laments Alexandra Sobczak, who is waiting to see if the Council of State will in turn impose such a penalty on the association. Since last spring, his successive requests have been rejected in turn. The first decisive blow was given by the Ministry of Culture on November 14, 2020, when Minister Roselyne Bachelot refused the classification of the monument, the only way to preserve it from demolition.
Since then, the authorities have not missed opportunities to exercise their clemency. They preferred to persist and sign in favor of the destruction of the chapel. This will soon be replaced by a student campus of the Junia school, member of the Catholic University of Lille and owner of the premises.
Stéphane Bern rant and last tribute
Leading support in heritage matters, Stéphane Bern himself has repeatedly been moved by the fate of the Saint Joseph Chapel. A few days ago, he sent a message to the president of Urgences patrimoines after having challenged political leaders on Twitter. “Like you, I am scandalized that the association Urgences Patrimoine was ordered to pay 1000 euros to the State, but I am convinced that one day the State will have to answer for having let our heritage treasures be demolished”, he told her. He will provide financial support for the financial penalty of the association, which only survives through donations.
It will not save the building, but a final decision is still expected within six to eight months from the administrative court of Lille, after the filing by Urgences Patrimoine of an appeal on the merits on November 15 for contest the fact that the chapel did not deserve to be classified as historical monuments. “We will do our utmost to avenge it, failing to have saved it, and finally recognize its notable architectural qualities, alas ” post mortem ””, indicates Heritage Emergencies on its website The Heritage Gazette.
Tuesday, January 20, some residents and members of the association came to pay a last tribute to the chapel and place roses on the gate preventing access to the site. “We were not allowed to enter the very walls of the chapel, but I was nevertheless given two small pieces of her, which I take with me like the absolute grail and which will never leave me. Some will find it a little “too much” and theatrical, but whatever, I needed it “, confides Alexandra Sobczak. Her fight to save the chapel lasted a symbolic time, nine months, the time of a pregnancy. Today comes once and for all that of mourning.