Public Defender’s Recommendation on Cultural Heritage Monument - Batumi Boulevard
For many years, the active, chaotic and spontaneous development of Batumi has posed severe challenges to the city. In particular, the processes in the historic center of the city significantly damaged the public interest of the protection and preservation of recreational areas, historical features, urban cultural heritage and individual monuments. A clear example of this is the construction of a multi-storey hotel on the territory of the Batumi Boulevard by the Ambassador Batumi Ltd, which will further aggravate the difficult reality. We would like to remind the public that the territory of the Batumi seaside boulevard represents a monument of garden-park art and landscape architecture.
The Public Defender has been actively supervising the realization of human rights in the construction sector for many years. In this case, the Adjara Cultural Heritage Protection Agency LEPL made decisions in disregard of the legitimate interests of the protection and preservation of cultural heritage. So, on April 21, 2022, the Public Defender of Georgia addressed the agency with a recommendation and demanded the annulment of the decisions.
In particular, the Adjara Cultural Heritage Protection Agency gave a permit to the Ambassador Batumi Ltd. to carry out rehabilitation works in 2018. The company should have demolished the building of the former marine polyclinic located in the area and build a 3-storey building in its place. However, later in January 2021, the Agency changed its initial decision and first agreed to build a 16-storey hotel instead of a 3-storey building, and then, in November, added two more storeys.
The changes made in 2021 completely changed the planned activity - rehabilitation of the monument. In the interests of the protection of the monument, the administrative body was obliged to be guided by the high standards of thorough examination of the circumstances of the case, comparison and substantiation, which did not happen in the present case.
It should be noted that in response to the already difficult situation in the Batumi Boulevard, a plan is being developed for the development of the boulevard. The Public Defender called on the Agency, taking into account the high public interest, not to issue a permit for any work on the boulevard (cultural heritage monument) until the boulevard development plan is approved, in order to avoid further aggravation of the situation and irreversible damages.