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Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia gets building licence 136 years after work began


More than a century after construction began, Barcelona’s iconic Sagrada Familia has finally been granted a building licence.

A deal struck between the church’s trustees and the city council has led to the building being granted a licence for the first time since construction began in 1882.

Under the terms of the licence, new transport links will be put in to deal with congestion around the tourist attraction.

The Sagrada Familia will pay €22M (£19.3M) to help underwrite the city’s transport network, including €7M to improve accessibility on the Barcelona metro system. Four major infrastructure routes will be renovated at a cost of £3.5M and £2.6M will be spent on keeping streets safe and clean.

“The Sagrada Familia is an icon and the most visited monument in our city,” the Barcelona mayor, Ada Colau, said in a tweet. “After two years of dialogue we have made an agreement that will guarantee the payment of the licence, secure access to the monument and facilitate local life with improvements to public transport and redevelopment of the nearby streets.”

The deal includes schemes to improve public transport and the surrounding area. Work on the Sagrada Familia began in March 1882, based on a neo-gothic design by the architect Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano. When he resigned shortly after work began, Antoni Gaudí stepped in and took over the design of the project.

Construction of the Sagrada is scheduled to finish in eight years’ time, 143 years after construction began and exactly 100 years since Gaudi was  killed after being hit by a tram. 

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