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Demolition of one of the oldest houses in Praia da Rocha causes outrage

The building was said to be one last vestiges of the golden days of Praia da Rocha. But no longer, because since Monday, November 4th, it has been undergoing demolition. The house is known as the House of the Count of Covilhã, and is a historical testimony of the early decades of the twentieth century.

At this moment in time the house, located next to the Hotel Algarve, has already been half demolished with heavy machinery, this demolition was licensed and approved by Portimão Council way back on December 3rd, 2015.

Due to the alarm caused by the start of the demolition, the competent authorities of the municipality stopped it half way through earlier this morning, thanks to dozens of photos and countless videos being put on social media begging the Council to prevent the destruction of the old building.

Next to the entrance gate of the property a sign displays the Council’s building permit for the plot, dating from back in 2015, for a building area of ??1196.90 square meters.

The house had been built as a holiday retreat at the beginning of the 20th for Francisco Bivar Weinholz, a businessman and former mayor of Portimão who funnily enough offered one of his palaces (belonging to his uncle, the Viscount of Bivar) to install the City Hall, which still remains in the same place to this day.

The property later belonged, back in the 1950s, to the Count of Covilhã, and it would then be bought by the northern textile businessman Manuel Gonçalves, owner of the TMG Group. It was finally sold by the heirs to its current owner, Armando Faria, owner of the Barreiros Faria perfumeries shops. It is this name – Armando Faria – which appears in the license which has allowed the demolition.

The house, which was considered an iconic part of Praia da Rocha’s architectural heritage, stands on the edge of a cliff, and was surrounded by leafy gardens, which remained for many years, even during times when the villa was less tended. Today, these gardens are largely occupied by a new construction.

According to the license displayed on the gates of the property, the project aims to build a single family house. Sources have not yet been able to determine whether the licensed project involves undergoing total demolition of the old house or only partial. It is certain that, next to it, a new building is already in the advanced phase of construction.

A local source claims that the current owner “has five children and 18 grandchildren” and therefore wants to “build a house for the whole family.”

Sul Informação, who have provided extensive coverage of this incident since it arose on Monday, has been unsuccessful in contacting both Isilda Gomes, mayor of Portimão, and João Gamboa, a city councillor, to further investigate the motives for the demolition.