African Press International (API)

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Princess challenges building regulations, again

Posted by African Press International on August 23, 2008

Princess Mrtha Louise, who has successfully won exemptions from building regulations in the past, is now challenging officials of the city of Oslo. She wants to move her controversial “angel school” to a building that’s supposed to be strictly residential.

Princess Martha Louise wants to move her angel school to this residential apartment building in Oslo’s Frogner district, but the rules won’t let her. The princess wants an exemption from the rules.

PHOTO: INGAR STORFJELL

Newspaper Aftenposten reported this week that the controversial princess has applied for a so-called bruksendring (similar to a re-zoning) of a flat she has provisionally bought in a gracious old residential building at Riddervolds gate 9.

The property isn’t zoned for business use, and the firm set up by the princess “to help people contact their own angels,” Astarte Education, is clearly a business.

Erna Kahlbom of the Socialist Left party (SV) is among those against any such rezoning application. “We need the housing units we have in Oslo,” she said.

She’s not alone. Most all of Oslo’s parties across the political spectrum frown on rezoning or “change of usage” applications. “The Conservatives and the political majority in Oslo are in principle against such applications, but it will be handled,” said Anne-Turid Steinsvik of the Conservative Party.

The princess has been known to get her way before. She succeeded in adding on to her house in suburban Lommedalen, thus breaking rules against building in forested areas, and she was granted special permission to build along the coastline of the summer property she inherited in Hanko. Local officials there willingly admitted she benefitted from “royal privilege.”

The residents of Riddervolds gate 9 support the princess’ application, so she doesn’t face opposition from her would-be neighbours. Several units in the building have been on the market lately and the princess’ case raises the profile of the property.

Her purchase of a 182-square-meter flat in the building, for around NOK 6 million, is contingent on the princess winning the right to change its use from residential to business. The seller of the flat had also sought a change of use but it was turned down because the application was viewed as “deficient.

The princess’ application, meanwhile, has been marked as a high-priority case but officials in the city planning office wouldn’t comment whether that status also reflected royal privilege.

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API/Source.aftenposteneng

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