Prague Aims to Reopen Karlín Barracks Despite Zoning Plan Changes

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Prague is investigating possible ways to partially reopen the Karlín Barracks, an alternative cultural hotspot, amid necessary zoning plan changes. The locale has been temporarily closed, sparking a petition in its support.

On Tuesday, the Prague 8 building authority decided to immediately prohibit the operation of the area due to the illegal use of interior spaces, which are neither approved for construction nor intended for such use. The city took over the area from the state this year. The current zoning plan defines it as a military area, but the city plans a change. The new plan would make it a mixed city centre area, allowing for various cultural, commerce, and housing functions.

A study by the Institute of Planning and Development even suggested expanding the southern wing of the barracks, which was formerly stables and a kitchen. There, cafes, a screening hall, and a stage are now located.

The authorities’ step triggered massive disagreement, and a petition was initiated to save this unique space. As of Wednesday afternoon, it had nearly 5,000 signatures. The petition emphasizes that the Karlín Barracks have become an indispensable place for many people’s cultural and social activities.

Adam Zábranský, a Prague councillor, suggested that the barracks and the building authority must address the situation. The operator applied for a building permit on June 3. According to Zábranský, the biggest issue will probably be compliance with the zoning plan, which defines the entire area as a functional area for the army and security, which does not correspond to its real use nor what the city wants there.