Banja Luka residents against concrete

The citizens demanded the urgent adoption of the urban plan for Banja Luka, as a strategic document of spatial planning of a higher level, with which all regulatory plans must be harmonized.

From May 8 to July 4, 2024, the citizens of Banja Luka had the opportunity to give their opinion on several key changes to regulatory plans in the areas of “Paskolina ciglana”, “Kupusište” park, “Centar-Aleja” and “Borik” settlement “.

Public hearing

This is followed by a public hearing, and everyone, as the Buka portal writes, hopes for a positive outcome, similar to the one achieved on July 1 for the Kupusište location, where it was decided to build a preschool instead of the previously planned skyscraper.

With the support of lawyers, lawyers and experts in the field of urban planning, citizens have written and submitted numerous comments on these changes in recent days. “We are optimistic about the withdrawal of the Draft, because it seems that the Draft was drafted illegally. One of the reasons is that the public interest was not taken into account when drafting the plan, which is an obligation according to the Law on Spatial Planning and Construction, and the second is that the planning document of a higher level – the Spatial Plan of the City of BL from 2014 was not respected,” they told Buka. citizens. The residents of the neighboring settlement – Borik – were also active in the past month. They also sent numerous objections to the changes to the plan, and held a protest against the planned construction of a 14- and 15-story skyscraper at the location of the Small Market and seven lamellas (10 floors) near and on the site of the “Fruktona” factory.

Thousands of citizens against

And the Draft Regulatory Plan of Paskolina Ciglana angered the people of Banja Luka, and thousands of citizens signed a petition against it. In numerous comments and suggestions on the draft regulatory plan for the Paskola brick factory, it was stated that the citizens are against the construction of permanent buildings in the area of ​​the Old bus station between Nikola Tesla and Vidovdanska streets, as well as the construction in the area of ​​the Villa Paskolo national monument. They claim that the Draft contains scandalous solutions that seriously damage the integrity of the city core, and that its implementation would disintegrate the connection between the eastern and western parts of the center, and also ignore cultural and historical monuments. They are particularly concerned about the exclusion of the Museum of Contemporary Art from the plan, which could significantly reduce its visibility and cultural significance. Also, the planned facilities at the “Stare autobuska” location have been criticized due to the potential negative impact on the environment and the quality of life of the residents of the area, including the increase in temperature in the summer months. In all four settlements, the citizens demanded the urgent adoption of the urban plan for Banja Luka, as a strategic document of spatial planning of a higher level, with which all regulatory plans must be harmonized.

Lack of compliance

Criticism is particularly focused on the lack of compliance of the existing plan with the needs of infrastructure preservation and environmental protection, which is visible in examples of the construction of high-rise buildings without adequate infrastructure. By the way, the last adopted Urban Plan of the city of Banja Luka was from 1975 and was valid until 1990, after which certain drafts were proposed. And the survey by Buka magazine before the local elections in October – “How can Banja Luka be a better city?” showed that the citizens see the concreting of the city as one of the key problems. This concern clearly indicates the need for greater transparency and public involvement in urban planning processes. “The upcoming elections provide an opportunity to hold politicians accountable and direct their programs to the real needs of the community,” writes the Buka portal.